“When I feel from grace, it was a hard fall,” Miguel Angel Torres admits.
The former WEC Bantamweight Champion hasn’t seen much of the Mixed Martial Arts world’s limelight in recent years. Fans who remember his glory years may be surprised to even learn he will fights Desmond Green tonight at Titan FC 31 in Tampa, Florida, in a bout to be televised on CBS Sports Network.
They may be even more surprised to learn the bout will mark Torres’ fourth of 2014.
Those glory years peaked in 2009, where Torres celebrated his third successful defense of the WEC bantamweight title to elevate his MMA record to a remarkable 37-1. That win, over Takeya Mizugaki at WEC 40, was the 17th straight victory of Torres’ career, which began with barely-sanctioned (and unsanctioned) bouts in his native Indiana.
“I was once one of the greatest fighters in the world,” as Torres puts it in an interview with MMA Junkie — among the MMA’s pound-for-pound elite — when everything started falling apart. A series of losses left Torres without the title, then falling in and out of several promotions, and ultimately off the MMA map.
“I kind of lost in the limelight,’ he explains. “I grew up not having any friends. I didn’t drink, I didn’t smoke, I didn’t go out, no girlfriends, just training. When I became world champion I got clubs to open up tables, bottles, and girls. It was a lot of everything. It was a lot of excess. It kind of took me out of the mentality of what I had to be, and that was basically to be a warrior, to be a fighter, and to stay in my academy to do what made me a champion.”
Torres describes his relationship with Firas Zahabi of TriStar gym as one of the factors which has him on the right track.
“He brought me into his home, and reminded me who I was,” Torres said. “I had to get back to who I was.”
So, who is Torres now?
He says he’s healthy and focused — with issues like depression behind him. He’s got a solid fighter with a good wrestling background in Green before him.
Ultimately for Torres, the truth will be revealed in the cage, tonight.