Titan FC is home to a number of talented fighters who have graduated to the big show. Taking relatively unknown regional fighters and propelling them to become household names isn’t uncommon for the organization.
One fighter quickly gaining notoriety is 23-year-old Jose “Shorty” Torres, a flyweight hailing from Chicago. Considered one of the most decorated amateur competitors in the sport, Torres hit the Titan FC fight scene in March 2016 and has already made quite a bit of noise.
Torres racked up an impressive 25-1 MMA record in his amateur career, as well as multiple titles for the United States Mixed Martial Arts Federation (UMMAF) and the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF). On top of his MMA accolades, Torres was also a junior college All-American in wrestling, an International Kickboxing Federation (IKF) champion, and Thai Boxing Association (TBA) champion.
Though he currently has only two professional MMA bouts, Torres credits his exhaustive amateur career as the reason he earned a title fight so early in his professional career.
“I was 25-1 as an amateur; I lost my MMA debut, then came back to win 25 straight. I was the first two-time national champion (UMMAF) and the first two-time world champion (IMMAF). That created history.”
Shortly after turning 23, Torres decided it was time to test the waters in the professional realm of fighting. He was invited to compete for Titan FC and has since become a rising star.
“I had a first-round finish in my professional debut against Travis Taylor, then a dominant unanimous decision over Reynaldo Duarte, a guy with 16 professional fights and a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,” explained Torres.
As he reflects on his journey toward the title, Torres says he is happy how things are going, “My popularity is going very high quick. I was just at the UFC Fan Expo doing meet and greets representing Titan FC. It could have been Andre Harrison or [Gesias] ‘JZ’ Calvacante, but they chose me.”
His impressive performances and rising star power has paved a way for the opportunity to fight for the Titan FC flyweight title on Friday, Aug. 5. Sitting at just 2-0, Torres is set to face the 7-2 Abdiel Velasquez.
“When I look at his record, most of his professional fights are local. He is a big fish in a little pond,” proclaimed Torres. “He is the best flyweight in Florida and No. 3 in the Southeast region, but it’s only because he has only fought local guys.”
Fighting all around the country, Torres feels his experience and fight preparation will carry him to a win when the cage door shuts.
“I started my training camp in Chicago,” said Torres. “I went to Johny Hendricks camp, getting my diet right and trained down there for two weeks. Then I went to Las Vegas for a week. Now, I am out training with Cub Swanson, who is a great training partner when it comes to preparing for Velasquez because they have a similar style.”
Though he is early in his career, Torres believes he is capable of hanging with the best flyweights in the world.
“I feel like I handle myself really well,” he explained. “Before I even turned pro, I helped some of the flyweights in the UFC prepare.”
That valuable experience with some of the best in the sport has Torres formulating a five-year plan for his career.
“I hope, after this fight, I get a call to fight in the UFC,” he declared. “But I’m only 23 years old, so I am still young. If I get called, I get called. If not, no worries. Inevitably I will get called.
“In five years, I want to be a top UFC contender.”
Despite the lofty goals, Torres reveals that being champion was never his goal in the sport. In fact, his love of the Power Rangers, Dragonball Z and Jackie Chan are what led him to mixed martial arts. Now, he’s out to play the hero.
“I just want to fight, have fun and inspire people along the way,” said the fighter. “I am fighting for good. If I can inspire people and be a hero, I will be happy. I want to motivate people to do better in their life.”
Hailing from one of the toughest urban areas in the country, Torres is a testament to how far fighting can take someone.
“I’m from Chicago; Chicago is not the best place in the world to live right now,” he admitted. “But I want to show people if I can make it out, I don’t see why anyone else can’t.”
Torres’ journey to inspire continues this weekend against Velasquez. The 23-year-old already has an envisioned outcome in his mind.
“I don’t expect to go five rounds, there will be a finish,” he stated. “I think I will win by submission within the first three rounds. But if we happen to go all five, it will be fight of the night.”
If things go as planned, Torres may not have to wait five years to achieve his career goal. But more importantly, he’ll aim to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.