Widely regarded as the world's most accomplished amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Jose Torres is ready to prove himself in one of the sport's premier promotions.
Torres (25-1 amateur, 0-0 pro), a former two-time IMMAF Bantamweight gold medalist, will make his professional debut against Florida's Travis Taylor (7-5 amateur, 0-0 pro) at Titan FC 37 this Friday night (March 4, 2016) in Ridgefield, Washington.
Torres, 23, is hardly an amateur, having submitted his last two opponents. The Chicago, Ill., native was courted by many well-known gyms and organizations, but he ultimately chose Florida-based promotion Titan FC.
Find out more about the aggressive and entertaining Torres in his recent discussion with MMAmania.
We started off our conversation by talking about the year that was for the new Titan FC star. Torres stepped into the cage a total of six times in 2015, including multiple bouts in the same week.
After gaining notoriety in IMMAF, he then joined powerhouse MMA team KHK, which is funded by Bahrainian Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa and lead by coaches Renzo Gracie and John Kavanagh. It was in his training there with the likes of UFC contenders Frankie Edgar and Khabib Nurmagomedov, where Torres honed his skills for a month.
"I was finally able to meet Khabib Nurmagomedov. He's a phenomenal guy. He's very hard to get off on top. He caught me in a top crucifix and I just couldn't get out. He's just punching me in the face and I'm looking up at the clock like, 'Oh man, I still have three minutes.'"
Make no mistake about it, Torres is no slouch and he is giving up a significant strength advantage to the Dagestani fighter. The two-time Pan-American Kickboxing games gold medalist also learned quite a bit from "The Eagle," who holds a Master of Sports in Sambo.
"I'm a Japanese jiu-jitsu fighter so I'm in more of an attack base, as opposed to a defensive base like in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. So we went back and forth. I'm fast enough to move my head side to side, so now I'm dodging and countering more, which Khabib taught me."
Torres didn't get to roll with "The Answer," but was complimentary of how the New Jersey native has carried himself throughout his UFC tenure.
"He's a very humble guy and a good business man. Frankie has been a phenomenal person and a huge role model for me, mainly with the weight cutting aspect. Even now at 145, he barely drops any weight. He weighs 160 naturally and trains every single day. That's the same aspect I live by."
Another great sparring day with the #ArtOf8 team in #StLouis Thank you guys! #KHKMMA #TitanFC37 #CombatDo #ProDebut pic.twitter.com/9EvpAj0VmY— Jose Shorty Torres (@ShortyTorres125) February 6, 2016
Traveling has become the norm for Torres, so he always needs a gym to help him perfect his skill-set. Torres went from Bahrain to San Diego then Missouri and now he's finally home in Chicago, where he'll close out training camp for his upcoming tilt against Taylor at his longtime base camp, Combat-Do.
Interestingly enough, the New York native was not the first choice on Titan FC's wish list of opponents to face Torres.
"Even some Titan guys don't want to fight me already, which is humbling. They don't want to fight a 5'4" Latino guy from Chicago? I can be cocky at times, but even though I'm the best in the world amateur in my weight class, I've never stated that. I'm glad they were finally able to find me a fight and when I say finally, it took them forever. They were trying to find me a proper fight."
Torres, who continues to represent himself in contract negotiations, has worked with esteemed nutritionist Lou Giordano to make sure his first weight cut in Titan FC goes smoothly. If all goes well, and he fulfills the expectations that are sitting on his shoulders, a drop to Flyweight could be in his future.
"I wrestled there all five years in college. I know I can do it. It just comes down to whether I'm healthy. Being at 125, I know I felt a little bit more confident having the height advantage. I would be in the average height game. There would be no huge reach advantage."
To check out the entire Titan FC 37 fight card, visit their website here.