One of the major stories of the recent WEC 51: “Aldo vs. Gamburyan” event revolved around former long-reigning WEC Bantamweight Champion Miguel Torres. Torres got back to his winning ways in a big way, with a throwback performance to his earlier days of dominance. Torres outright crushed opponent Charlie Valencia before locking in a Rear Naked Choke that won him a “Submission of the Night” award. But according to the always-humble Torres, this big win represented only one step, albeit a large one, on the long road back to Bantamweight relevancy and, one day, another shot at WEC gold.
In a video first posted on MMAWeekly, here’s what Torres had to say: “Mentally and physically I’m in a better place. I think I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I’m not worried about a title shot right now. I’m worried about being the best fighter I can be. And I still have a long way to go… That whole first round I wanted to jump on Charlie so bad, but having to sit back and wait, to be calculating…I still get the impulse to go after it, but now especially with the way the game’s developing… I’m going to have to be smarter when I fight.”
Spoken like a true fighter. Torres has always been a very humble and incredibly driven fighter, it’s why he’s so popular and it’s why it hurt so badly to see him rack up a two-fight losing streak, both of which were incredibly humbling losses. In today’s MMA scene no job is safe if you can’t perform, and although I don’t think a three-fight losing streak would have been cause enough for the WEC to fire one of their biggest stars, it would have been another nail in the coffin. Instead, Torres put on a classic performance and proved once and for all that he can still be a force to be reckoned with in the WEC and especially in the Bantamweight division. I’m incredibly happy that Torres won that fight.
But as Torres himself knows, this was just the first step back. It was more of a leap given how he got back to his glory days of running right through opponents, but still, Torres isn’t out of the woods yet. With absolutely no disrespect meant towards Charlie Valencia, I’ll say right now that he’s not a top-division fighter in the WEC. He may not have been a sacrificial lamb, but he was definitely a step down in competition compared to the last two opponents that beat Torres. With this win, Torres proves that he’s ready to tackle some of the best in the world, and that will be where the real test lies.
If Torres can stick to his gameplan like he stuck to it in the Valencia fight, he should be poised for a career rebirth. Torres needs to know when to pull the trigger, and not rush into encounters just because he’s got the heart of a fighter and wants to fight. His recklessness is one of his biggest strengths and yet also one of his greatest weaknesses. Torres needs the right coaching to teach him when and where to unleash the monster, and he seems to be getting just that with his new coaching staff. I’m looking forward to seeing this new Miguel Torres, because it seems to be the best version of him yet.
I may be getting ahead of myself, but can you honestly blame me? I’m a big fan, and I really want to see him do well. It’s going to be tough, but I think he can do it. Everybody loves a comeback, and I’m loving this one. And what about you, fans and friends? What do you think the future holds for the former WEC Bantamweight Champion?