Jose “Shorty” Torres (6-0) is an undefeated professional flyweight with something to prove. Torres hails from just outside the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. He currently competes under the Titan FC banner (streaming on UFC Fight Pass) where he holds the championship titles for both the 125 and 135 pound divisions. Shorty Torres is undoubtedly ready to step in to the big leagues.
Untimely injuries have caused him to decline offers for a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series and even a last minute fight in the UFC. Torres fought for the 135 Titan championship in May of 2017. Though he took home the belt, he also received a broken hand and a torn MCL.
Just months later Torres was back in action. The highly touted up and comer ended 2017 with a November win over Gleidson DeJesus (7-3) at Titan FC 46. The successful defense of his bantamweight title was meant to send the message to UFC matchmakers, that “Shorty” Torres is only a phone call away.
You have already received the call from the UFC multiple times. Are you expecting another one and are you ready now?
“I am really hoping for that. I’m trying to meet with Dana White personally, pitch myself to him and see if we can get a contract signed. I am currently at American Top Team in Coconut Creek (Florida) and I’m doing a full training camp here. If the UFC doesn’t call before then I will be competing again for Titan on Titan FC 48, February 16th. I am not going to wait around. I’m going to get another paycheck so I can keep training and make sure the UFC knows I’m ready.”
Since the time of this interview Shorty Torres has been confirmed to fight Alberto Orellano (5-2) on Titan FC 48.
What could you bring to the UFC flyweight division if you were to get signed?
“Excitement. I am the Vasyl Lomachenko of MMA. I don’t have his full resume, but I am 25-1 as an amateur and undefeated as a pro. A lot of people like to see boxing because it is two knockout artists putting on a show. I can bring that energy to the division which has a dominant champion.”
At first glance you may think that a typo has been made in the recording of Torres’s amateur record. Boxers often have long records such as 26 bouts, but MMA fighter’s very rarely compete that many times before going pro. Torres chose to honor his college wrestling scholarship at Division II McKendree University. Getting paid to fight would have disqualified him from collegiate athletics. Torres graduated with a degree in leadership and sports exercise science.
Where are you currently training and why is that an ideal spot for you?
“I’ve only been at American Top Team for two days but it is great! There are a number of UFC fighters here, Bellator, One FC, Rizin, LFA and it is really cool to see such high class athletes all together. It doesn’t matter if you speak English or Portuguese, everyone is training together, sitting in the sauna and joking together. It is a really great environment. Some of these guys I may fight someday, but it is great to test my skills at this level.
My last three camps were with TJ Dillashaw (UFC Bantamweight Champion). He just had his baby, and the gym (MusclePharm) is revamping in anaheim. I needed to get out of the house and train somewhere with guys who are better than me and can beat me up. I always wanted to come to American Top Team. Nothing is guaranteed but I’m enjoying it so far.”
Shorty Torres is a Chicago native, and the move from Illinois to Florida in the winter is a welcomed climate change.
“Chicago is below zero. Here it is 70-80 degrees. What’s also great is that everything is here at the gym. I don’t have to go somewhere else for my strength and conditioning or my recovery. And I am staying in the dorms here.”
On heavy training days, how do you promote a fast recovery so you can be back the next day?
“The biggest thing is that I’ve taken a lot of injury; too many calf kicks, too many punches. I’ve learned that I am going to get bumps and bruises from shots I shouldn’t have taken. I’ve learned the importance of having time to myself to recharge mentally. I realized that if I don’t have rest and recovery, I am more likely to get injured. I used to work myself way too hard. Now I try to stick to a schedule of active recovery.
The facility here is great. I have everything I need for recovery. I have been more focused on stretching before and after practice to increase my flexibility, so that I can use all of my tools. I haven’t always been the most flexible guy, but I know I can throw a head kick. I need to stay flexible enough to do it. You’ve got to listen to your body.”
How has CBD affected your training?
“I didn’t know a lot about CBD until May when I tore my MCL and broke my hand. I had surgery and I couldn’t even move my fingers, let alone make a fist. As an MMA fighter that was tough. Receptra Targeted Topical is my favorite product. I get bumps and bruises all the time. I take the droppers before and after workout. It helps ease recovery for my body and I get a more restful sleep.”
You have a 135 title now as well as 125. Can you feel the difference in the weight class and where would you prefer to perform?
“My body is comfortable at 135 pounds, but naturally I am better at 125. It is harder for my opponents at 125 to handle my power, strength and durability. Those guys at 135 are just bigger. I’ve knocked out my opponents at 125 and at 135 I submit them. I’m throwing everything at them, but can’t knock those guys out.”
What do you do to stay busy when you are not training?
“I’ve been doing this since I was 4 yr old. When I’m not training I’m usually sleeping or doing nothing. I watch videos on fighting or TV shows about fighting. I don’t go out much or do anything.”
Shorty Torres takes his job as a professional fighter seriously and has made training a part of his lifestyle from a very young age.
“I started in Shotokan karate when I was just a kid. I’ve been training at Combat-Do for ten years or so and I’ve been wrestling since I was a freshman, which has been about 10 years now. It is what I do.”
You have done some coaching and motivational speaking for children. Why is that important for you?
“I’ve been helping kids since I was one myself. In school I used to read to the younger kids. When I was old enough, I volunteered as a wrestling coach and I teach children’s MMA, Muay Thai, Kickboxing and everything else at Combat-Do in Cicero.”
Torres was raised on the outskirts of Chicago in Cicero, Illinois. It is known as a factory town and a rough neighborhood complete with issues of street gangs and drug dealers. Over 80 percent of the population in the area is Hispanic.
While coaching wrestling, Torres met two children with a rough upbringing that he connected with. He has been a like a big brother to Josh and Igor since they were 11 years old. One was an orphan and the other a foster child. He has had a meaningful impact on their upbringing, which is a testament to how much one person can impact another. The boys are now about to turn 18.
“I am from a typical latino family in Chicago. Typical meaning that most parents are first or second generation and struggling to make ends meet. It can be hard. I did everything I had to do to achieve my dreams. I want people like me to know that they can achieve their dreams too. That they can make it real.
My nickname is “Shorty” not just because I am short, but because I am just another shorty from the hood trying to make it out. And I hope I can inspire others. If I can- I will.”
What can we expect from Shorty Torres in 2018?
“Last year I focused on making it into the UFC. I had injuries that didn’t allow that to happen. My resolution this year is to bring the people that are helping me out, up with me. This is a sport where if people don’t support you, you can’t succeed. If I’m not supported. I’m not getting anywhere. I want to bring up my training partners, my sponsors and everyone who is a part of this. I want to be the people’s champ.”