Jose Torres can finally call himself a UFC fighter.
Last week, the Titan FC bantamweight and flyweight champion inked a deal with the premier MMA promotion. He is set to debut Friday at UFC Fight Night 131 in Utica, New York against fellow prospect Jarred Brooks.
Fans have been calling for Torres’ UFC signing for a long time now; he’s defended both titles in Titan FC, has a perfect 7-0 pro record, and has 26 bouts as an amateur. He’s long been considered one of the most promising prospects in the entire sport.
If you ask most people, “Shorty” probably should’ve been signed to the UFC sooner. But either way, Torres is just glad the call finally came — better late than never.
“It’s honestly amazing, because, one, I can finally say, ‘Yes, I do do UFC,’” Torres told BloodyElbow.com. “It’s just one of those things that I’ve worked really hard for; everyone lately has been vocal for me that I should be in the UFC. I know there’s been communication between myself and them, and sadly, things haven’t worked out. Finally, something comes up where my team believes it’s a great matchup, and they believe I can make the weight on last-minute notice. We’re more than happy and excited to put on an amazing show.”
In recent months, the only reason Torres hadn’t been signed earlier, he said, was bad timing. He received multiple offers for the UFC and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year, but was injured. Then, when he was healthy, the call wouldn’t come and he’d end up taking another Titan FC bout.
“Every single time they called me, it’s either I’m injured or people don’t want to fight me,” Torres said. “We even had to talk Jarred Brooks into fighting me. Some people just don’t want to fight me. … It’s like, I’m just waiting here for a proper call — ‘Yeah, I can tell you guys like me, but can I get a contract?’ Sadly, that contract just never came in.”
Torres was at first hesitant to take the Brooks fight, because he had been preparing for a Titan FC featherweight title fight (which was actually about to be cancelled). For the past month and a half, he had been “bulking.” That made getting down to 125 pounds not the easiest, but Torres did successfully make the weight Thursday morning.
Fighting Brooks on just over a weeks’ notice certainly wasn’t an ideal offer for Torres, but he somewhat felt like he had to take it. He’s learned that opportunities in the UFC don’t come every day.
“It’s not my favorite type of call-up, because this is pretty much all I have been offered,” he said. “But if this happens eight times, I feel like I’m not gonna get another chance, so I might as well take a ninth time. I’m signed officially to the UFC because of it.”
When he got the call, his first thought was: no, he wouldn’t accept the fight. But then he talked to his nutritionist, who assured Torres he could make the flyweight limit in a safe and healthy manner.
“The first heart beat — no,” Torres said. “I talked to my team after that. ‘Hey man, do you want me to make this weight at this time, June 1?’ … I’m not a big fan of big weight cuts. I want to be able to perform. I talked to Loutrition, and he was actually the biggest and only reason that I said yes. He said, ‘I am 100-percent confident you can make the weight and feel great and beat this guy up for it. It depends on you, but as long as you trust me, we’re good.’ If he is 100-percent confident, then I’m confident, too.”
Torres said the feedback and everything that comes along with being a new UFC fighter has been “extremely overwhelming.” But if that makes you think he’s not ready or not excited to finally call UFC home, think again.
“I say that in a literal sense, as well,” Torres said. “My phone was blowing up. Now I’m dealing with UFC stuff and trying to figure out everything. … It’s been a little hectic.”
Torres faces Brooks in the first fight of the card on UFC Fight Pass.