With a record of 36-2, Miguel Angel Torres is the biggest little man walking. While the pound-for-pound rankings are often reserved for larger fighters, Torres stood prominently among the cream of the crop in MMA. He was the heavy favorite going into an August bout with Brian Bowles and was thought to be an unstoppable fighter.
A straight right hand from Bowles snapped a 17-fight win streak, separated Torres from consciousness, and cracked the veneer of invincibility that the followed the former champion to the cage.
Losing allowed the East Chicago, Indiana fighter to reassess his priorities. The whirlwind run to the top of the rankings came while Torres played dual roles of fighter and gym owner; something he says had to change if he was to become champion again.
“The biggest thing was getting my time in order,” Torres says of his career realignment. “I had to have my gym run itself so I don’t have to be there all the time. Finding a manager and finding people to teach classes.”
After securing his business interests, Torres also realized he needed to revamp his approach to training to adapt to the ever-changing nature of the sport.
“For two or three years, I haven’t had anybody coaching or training me,” he reveals. “It was working and everyone is catching up. The learning curve is smaller. Guys are working on their weaknesses and the game is a lot different than it was back in the day. I had to get back to training.”
The new approach to training is what separates Torres from the pack of talented fighters who never break through to the next level. His new training regimen now includes a dedicated set of training partners, which meant parting ways from his usual suspect of sparring partners.
“My guys are great training partners but a lot of them have full time jobs, families, and careers,” Torres said, giving the inside scoop on his old ways. “This last camp [for the fight] with Brian, [there were] guys are on vacation, with their families. I had to get guys that can raise the learning curve for me.”
Torres will get a chance to show off his new skills this Saturday at WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz. The former champion is slated to face fellow top ranked bantamweight Joseph Benavidez. A win over Benavidez likely leads to a title fight with the winner of the Brian Bowles-Dominick Cruz bout headlining the card.
It would be foolish to believe that Torres is looking past Benavidez, but with so much of his new attitude credited to Bowles loss, look for a rejuvenated and refocused Torres to take to the cage.
“The loss to Brian was the best thing to happen to my career,” he says. “Guys like Brian raise the bar and you need that. It makes you a better fighter. The fact that I was able to do all that with no coaching and run the business is a testament to my hard work and my skill.”
As the saying goes, “Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard.” Torres is now pairing a harder work ethic with his talent—and he promises explosive results.
“Now that I’m getting trained well, dieting and doing strength conditioning, you’re going to see a much more dangerous Miguel Torres.”