Last week, the wheels were set in motion for Jose “Shorty” Torres to finally make his long-awaited UFC debut. He’s set to fight Jarred Brooks at UFC Fight Night 131 in Utica, New York.
Torres said he was finishing his dinner when he received a call from his management who had just spoken to UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard. The Titan FC flyweight and bantamweight dual-champion had been preparing to make a bid for his third professional title at featherweight, so he had been bulking up. Flyweight would be difficult to make. At first, Torres told his management to tell Maynard no.
“[My management] told [Maynard], ‘No, he was getting ready for 145 title fight, he’s not a fan of last minute weight cuts,'” Torres told MMASucka.
Louis Giordano, Torres’ nutritionist, then persuaded him to take Maynard’s offer.
Torres said Giordano told him, “‘Dude, you’re in shape, you’re just bigger. You can make the weight. Will it suck? Yeah it’s gonna suck. But we can do it.'”
The Titan champ-champ’s team then called Maynard back the next morning and told him that Torres accepted the bout.
At long last, Torres is a UFC fighter.
“It feels awesome,” Torres said. “Being able to say I’m a UFC fighter is a dream come true. I’m so happy to have so many people supporting me and Team Shorty.”
For Torres’ (7-0 MMA) debut, he draws Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks (13-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in a prospect vs. prospect clash. Brooks enters the bout with a split decision loss to Deiveson Figueiredo that many thought he won, including Torres. Before that, he kicked off his UFC career with a split decision win over Eric Shelton.
Torres said he was hoping he’d draw Ben Nguyen or fellow former Titan FC champion Tim Elliott in his debut. But even though Brooks is currently outside of the top-15, he’s a test that Torres is excited for.
“I think this is a phenomenal match-up for me,” Torres said. “This is a guy who contradicts my style. He wants it on the ground and I want it to be standing.
“He’s a good wrestler and that’s honestly about it,” he continued. “He’s a small guy who should be a strawweight. He doesn’t throw many punches. He’s not much of an MMA fighter, and he hasn’t really fought an actual wrestler. I’m like the Justin Gaethje of the lighter weight classes. I was an All American wrestler in college but I prefer to stand and trade and brutally put on a show.”
Torres said he’s predicting a second round TKO victory, feeling he’ll be able to largely neutralize Brooks’ wrestling with his own. Then he believes Brooks will circle away and try to survive his stand-up before he finishes the fight.
Torres and Brooks will kick off the UFC Fight Pass prelims on Friday night.