Miguel Torres has experienced quite the career roller coaster over the last year.
He was initially released from the Ultimate Fighting Championship following a controversial tweet, but after an apology and some time to let things simmer, cooler heads prevailed and he was brought back into the fold.
After several months of silence, it was revealed that Torres had surprisingly been released from the UFC again. As a free agent, he initially signed with Titan but was then revealed to be participating on the inaugural World Series of Fighting 1 main card against Marlon Moraes.
Torres spoke with MMAmania.com during a special guest appearance on The Verbal Submission about reaching his peak, changing his training mentality and his debut with a new promotion in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You were on the TV show and famed roaster Jeff Ross was punking you. How come you didn't bite back? I know you've got some good quips in you.
Miguel Torres: Man, I did bite back. They just cut it out. I went back at a couple guys. It was funny because he was saying the stuff and one of the girls chimed in, the blonde chick. She told me about how my wife makes me get the haircut that I have so girls wouldn't fuck me but I was dishing it back. I guess they edited it out. They were giving it to one of the girls in the audience that was heavier set. On the show, they only showed it for 30 seconds but in reality, it was like five minutes. It was horrible, but it was still an awesome show, man. To see how he works like that, it was pretty awesome. They're all cool people.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about the big story here. Obviously, you're making your debut with the World Series of Fighting. Do you feel like this is almost a chance to start over for you?
Miguel Torres: I don't look at it as starting over. I look at it like I'm just continuing my career. I've been fighting since I was 17 years old. I'm 31 now. I've been in the sport for a long time and I'm just continuing my career. When one door closes, another door opens and I still have a lot to offer MMA and the fans. I haven't hit my peak yet, my potential. I have some of the greatest training partners so I have a long way to go still so I'm just continuing my career.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How close do you think you are to reaching your potential?
Miguel Torres: I think another year or two. My wrestling's come along a lot. I've been working on that the last three years extensively and little things like defense, attacking and just timing. It takes a long time to wrestle. You've got to look at the guys that wrestle in MMA now, they've been doing it since they were five years old. By the time they hit 25-30 years old, they've practically been doing it their whole lives. Wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world and takes some of the most discipline and prepares you the most for MMA.
I took the other route and started with jiu-jitsu and striking and I've been solely focusing on wrestling for three years. I think they say once you hit 1000 reps in actual training and combat situations, you become a master of it. I'm not close. I'm halfway there. I need another year or two and I'll be there. That's what I would like to see.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you kind of feel that your last few fights have been more of a transition period as you've been adding these new facets to your game and overall fighting style?
Miguel Torres: You know, it's the last two and a half years basically. A lot of people want to criticize and say, "Oh, you're not the same person you were," or "You've got to be the guy you used to be, a champion again." People don't understand the game's changed a lot. Back in the day, I trained solely with guys from my gym. They weren't pro fighters or anything. They were just friends and students who helped me prepare. T
hey gave me all their energy and all their time but you have to consider the guys that are training that are gonna fight you.They're watching all your fights. They're watching your tapes. They see the mistakes you're making and looking for holes to beat you in and they can beat you with strategy. They come from gyms where there's 20 guys in that gym that are pro fighters and all they do is train full time. They go to the gym, they rest, they eat and they go to the gym again. That's compared to a gym where they work all day, come in and train for an hour because they've got kids back home or they've got school or other situations. It's a different game now. It's a professional sport now and you've got to treat it that way.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): For this camp, I saw you spent a significant amount of time back at your home gym. You worked with Firas of course up at Tri-star as well but did that recharge the batteries a bit to go back home and spend some time in Indiana?
Miguel Torres: Yeah it did for sure. I've been focusing a lot on wrestling and wrestling season just started again. When I started my training camp, we had a ton of guys to work with wretling-wise and I've been wanting to focus on that a lot. We also has some guys come in who were awesome strikers and some pro boxers and kickboxers who were coming down.I had good training partners, but I also wanted to spend a lot of the camp in Montreal. We were training the other day and there were at least 45 guys on the mat, 45 pros on the mat. It was insane. I had so many guys to train with that I couldn't even get to all of them. The room was filled with studs and you can't help but get better when you're training like that.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): For your last couple fights, you were mixing things up between the Blackzilians and Tri-Star. Are you keeping it simple this time around at one place instead of bouncing around?
Miguel Torres: Yeah, for the last training camp I mixed it up between both but I think the moving is too much. You're in one environment and it's beautiful outside and you go back to a different gym and it's freezing. It's a completely different mindset. Both camps are awesome but I just picked the one gym this time.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): How beneficial is it to work alongside all the talented fighters who are your size like Ivan Menjivar and Firas Zahabi's son?
Miguel Torres: I'll tell you this right now. I came into this training camp and I've got Zahabi's son, Ivan Menjivar, Yves Jabouin and Joey Gambino. I've got a ton of guys there that are tough. These are just guys that people know who their names are because they're pro fighters. That doesn't include all the incredibly talented amateur fighters or pros who haven't got a shot on the big show yet. There's guys like Ryan Hall. I walk in and look at this guy and he doesn't look like much and we get on the mat and this guy is a freakin magician on the mat. You think you're good at something and he had so much more to offer and you learn so much more from that person. Every time I go out there, it's just more and more stuff I pick up. I view it as a laboratory and you just go in there and experiment.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Is there anything specific that you really want to showcase for this upcoming fight against Marlon Moraes, who's a pretty tough bantamweight in his own right?
Miguel Torres: The biggest thing that I want to show the world is that I have to go out there and I have to dominate. I have to win. I've got to fight smart, keep the pressure and I've got to put him on his ass and put him away. I have to win. I have to out there and I have to win impressively.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Can you talk about trying to find that balance between fighting smart and cautiously and trying to win impressively and having to take the risks to do that?
Miguel Torres: Well the biggest thing is I've been fighting smart for myself. It's about longevity in the sport and my health. The way I was fighting before, there's no way you can continue to fight five or six more years like that because you're going to get hurt. I was winning fights and I was getting hurt for two months and I was losing fights and getting hurt for two months. You've got to have a balance in the middle where you're fighting smart where you can win decisively and that balance exists. I have that potential. I have the weapons to do that. It doesn't make sense to resort to default when I have the height and the reach and I have the skills grappling-wise and striking-wise to not do that. If I was a brawler and my skills were a one-punch knockout then yes, I'd have to go out there and try to KO guys with one punch, but that's not my style.