Miguel Torres: “I have a great style to beat Dominick Cruz”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After working his way to a unanimous decision win over Nick Pace at UFC 139 last weekend, Miguel Torres continued to serve notice that he remains a considerable presence in the bantamweight division. While the victory left the former WEC champ’s official 2011 record at 2-1, in the mind of Torres, the renowned fighter not only went 3-0 this year, he’s won four straight.
“For me, I don’t think this year was 2-1, I thought I won that last fight,” said Torres, while referring to the unanimous decision loss he incurred against Demetrious Johnson in May. “I thought I did what I had to do to win that fight also. Judges didn’t give me the call but I got a lot of support from the media and fans. It is what it is.”
“I think I’m close,” Torres added, while discussing where he believes he now sits in the title shot mix. “ I don’t call people out; whatever Dana White and Joe Silva want me to do. I’ll fight anybody in the division.”
When Torres suffered back-to-back losses against Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez, at WEC 42 and 47 respectively, the defeats sent shockwaves throughout the MMA world. At the time, Torres was widely considered to be one of the world’s top, pound-for-pound fighters, and the losses provoked some observers to write the ex-champ off.
“Fans are real fickle; one day you’re on top of the world the next day you’re not,” Torres told FCF. “Look at Brian Bowles; he was considered to be one of the top guys in the division, and now he loses to Urijah and people are taking sh– about him. Look at Urijah; he was considered one of the top guys in the world, he loses to (Jose) Aldo, a couple of guys, and they write you off. Your next fight makes or breaks you…This sport is very unforgiving that way.”
The November 19th win over Pace was yet another example of an improved and yet more calculating Torres, who in more recent fights has utilized more technical and precise attacks rather than throwing caution to the wind.
“I wanted the knockout but if it’s not there you can’t rush it; you can’t put yourself in danger,” said Torres. “Not only of getting knocked out yourself, but getting yourself hurt, and breaking your hand or something. In the past, wars that I had that I won, I would get hurt. Now I’m ready to get training for my next fight. Injuries start to take a lot out of you…I’m not 20 years old anymore where your injuries heal up in a few days. You have to be smart.”
While Torres has also credited the Tri Star gym and instructor Firas Zahabi in recent months for improving his game, for UFC 139, the 30 year-old-vet also enlisted the help of the ‘Blackzilian Team’.
“A hundred percent,” said Torres, when asked if he hopes to train with the team again, which includes former light-heavyweight champ Rashad Evans. “If there is a way to bring some of my training partners from Montreal to Florida I will definitely do that. It’s cold in Montreal man; training in Florida is awesome… Their style there is very aggressive. It’s striking orientated and there wrestling is right up my alley.”
The bantamweight division has undergone an interesting transition over the last couple of years, as like Torres before him, Dominick Cruz has put together a multi-fight reign as champion and inserted himself into the pound-for-pound mix.
“It’s hard to criticize Dominick Cruz; he’s beaten everyone in the top five of the weight class so far,” said Torres, while discussing the champion, who has been criticized by some for his elusive yet effective style. “He beat Benavidez twice, he beat Urijah, he beat (Scott) Jorgensen, he beat Johnson, but I think all those guys have similar styles. They’re all short, stocky wrestlers with heavy punching power.”
“I don’t think he’s fought anyone with my style yet,” Torres added. “I have good striking, good leg kicks, and I have very dangerous jiu-jitsu. So I think if he has one weakness that was going to be exposed, it would be by me. He would have to stand with me the whole time, and if we went to the ground, I would have the advantage. He hasn’t fought anyone with my pedigree on the ground yet….Everyone has their bad match-ups, me, I hate fighting short wrestlers that take me down, hold me there and stall, but I think I have a great style to beat Dominick Cruz.”