by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Torres has never been a fighter to back down from a challenge.
In fact, when the WEC came calling for the former
bantamweight champion to step back into the cage following his loss to Brian
Bowles, they gave him the option of picking an opponent, but Torres wanted none
After losing to Brian Bowles in 2009, Torres had to
re-evaluate a few things in his career, revamp his training camp, and get back
to the top of the division he ruled for so long. And as for an opponent for his first fight back… Torres
left that up to the WEC.
"They wanted me to pick an opponent, I didn’t want
to," Torres said in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio. "I told Sean Shelby to give me the
toughest guy he could find a match against, and that was Benavidez."
Joseph Benavidez enters the fight against Torres with an
impressive record, his only loss coming by way of decision against current top
contender Dominic Cruz last year.
Training alongside former WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber,
Benavidez has shown a ton of heart and determination in all of his fights with
"He’s one of those guys that just never gets tired, he
never seems to be hurt, and he just doesn’t stop coming," Torres commented
about Benavidez. "He punches
and kicks from weird angles. He’s very dangerous."
This will be the first fight for Torres not only following
the loss, but after taking a step back from the sport he loves to put things in
perspective and make sure that he was doing all the right things he had to do
The WEC originally came calling to place Torres on an
earlier card, but he declined and said he had to get some things straightened
out before he returned. Getting
things situated at his home gym, and then deciding that he had to make a few
changes in his own training camp, led him to this point where he believes he is
the best fighter he’s ever been.
"I had to take some time to get my life in order. My business, my gym was going crazy,
going out of control, getting new members, I expanded into a new place, taking
care of my finances, my taxes, stuff like that, my family, my friends,"
said Torres. "I had to get
back to life and take a little break and get everything in order so that when I
train, I can just focus and train."
One thing that Torres is crystal clear in pointing out is
that taking his training camp abroad to work with different people is in no way
a knock on his old team, something that was portrayed recently after a few
"People are crazy. I did a couple interviews, I was
talking about how my old camps were, and it was not a knock on my guys at
all," Torres stated. "My
guys brought me to where I’m at now, and it worked perfect until (Brian
Bowles). It wasn’t even just my
camp or the training partners, it was my business, it was the camp, it was the
traveling, it was nutrition, it was a lot of things all balled into one.
"It worked up until I fought Bowles. No knock on Brian; he’s a great
fighter. No knock on his camp; but a lot of guys were talking about how I
dissed my old camp. I love those
guys. I look at them as my family, my brothers."
Now with a slew of top trainers and training partners,
Torres says he’s ready to get back to the business of fighting and
winning. Another big change
that he says he will unveil Saturday night is his willingness to win the fight
the smart way, instead of fighting to his opponent’s strength or playing to the
crowd too much, which hurt him in the Bowles fight.
"I’ve been training a lot to be more crafty, and to be
more Machida like, more of an Anderson Silva type fighter, instead of being a
Wanderlei Silva," said Torres.
"I’m very happy to be able to get back in the cage and show what
I’ve been working on."
Torres will get that chance on March 6 when he faces Joseph
Benavidez live on Versus, as the WEC makes its debut in Columbus, Ohio.