2x UMMAF US National Champion and 2x IMMAF World Champion Jose “Shorty” Torres Wins the Titan FC Interim Flyweight Championship in Just His Third Pro Fight
by Jim Grieshaber
Coral Gables, FL– Imagine a 23 year-old MMA Fighter who makes his pro debut with one of the largest promotions in the sport with a direct pipeline to the UFC. He wins his first two fights in two months to earn the chance to fight for an interim championship in a co-main event watched by tens of thousands of fans on UFC Fight Pass just days after his 24th birthday. He dominates a very tough and athletic opponent with eight more fights under his belt, wins by TKO in the second round and gets the belt strapped around his waist while the crowd chants his name over and over again. Sounds like a fairy tale right? Way too good to be true, isn’t it?
Not for Jose “Shorty” Torres, two-time UMMAF US National Amateur Champion, two-time IMMAF World Amateur Champion and now Titan Fighting Championship Interim Flyweight Champion whose magic carpet ride seemingly knows no limits. Torres (3-0, 25-1 Amateur) dominated Abdiel Velasquez, (7-4) knocking out “The Nightmare” at 3:52 of the second round at Titan FC 40 inside Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Florida last night to give himself the best birthday present he’s ever had.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m so thrilled to win the title belt in just my third pro fight”, he told me minutes after his win while waiting in line to get the cut over his left eye stitched up. “to move up so fast and make such a big impact for such a little guy. It’s a huge night!”
Making it even more sweet is that Shorty’s brother Jose Orlando Torres was able to be in his corner after being stabbed three times the day before Shorty left his hometown of Chicago for camp in New Mexico. Jose Orlando barely survived after losing all of his blood and receiving 17 units in a transfusion that replaced all of it plus a pint more, but he recovered enough to be there to help his brother become a world champion and share that moment with him.
“I’m so happy right now”, he told me with raw emotion cracking his voice. “My brother stepped on someone’s shoe and almost lost his life in a senseless situation that could easily have been avoided. We’re lucky he’s still here. I was blessed to have him in my corner.”
Torres absorbed a few shots during the fight, a result of Velasquez being more aggressive than Jose and his longtime coach, “Master Bob” Schirmer, thought he would be. Shorty was able to close distance and land his own strikes throughout the fight. He finished the first round in top position, with Velasquez barely surviving a big flurry of ground and pound after Torres’ Greco Roman style throw took him down.
“He (Abdiel) was tougher than I thought, and he came forward more than we believed he would”, he said. “That gave me a chance to get some good shots in. I saw the opening to land that knee, hit it then pounced on him and knocked him out.”
Prior to the fight, Torres felt like he was “stronger and more athletic” and “better on the feet and on the ground.” But it was his storied amateur background that he knew gave him his “biggest advantage” coming in under the bright lights on the big stage.
“I knew my experience would help me so much”, he said with a smile. I’ve won twice on the world stage. I felt so comfortable out there.”
Becoming the most decorated and well-known amateur MMA fighter in the world has definitely sped up Shorty’s ascent to the top levels of the sport, something he knows and appreciates deeply.
“None of this ever would have happened if I hadn’t won two times at the UMMAF Nationals and IMMAF Worlds”, he told me. You’re facing the best from all over the globe. It’s the closest thing we have to the Olympics. It gave me the visibility and the skills to turn pro on a very high level, inside the cage and out. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities they gave me.”
The charismatic star in the making has run with that opportunity to become the biggest name in Titan FC and one of the most well-known prospects in MMA, something that hadn’t been done before. He knows that fighters are individual athletes without the benefit of a team to give them that big marketing push we see so often in sports, and he’s well aware of the work that comes with it.
“I’ve learned how to market myself and use the tools that are available to me, especially social media, to build my name and launch my pro career so much faster than I ever could have if I hadn’t won twice at UMMAF and IMMAF”, he said with pride. “This is new in MMA. Nobody has done this before.”
Of course, being the first one to do anything makes you a pioneer and someone people look up to. Jose is well aware of this. It drives him every day. And even though he has the belt around his waist, he knows his work is far from done.
“My goal was never to become a champion, at Titan, in the UFC, wherever. It was and still is to inspire people to do better in their lives. I’m happy I created a path for amateur fighters to reach the pro level in a different way. If I can do it, I don’t see why anyone else can’t.”
If the past two years are any indication, there’s nothing Jose “Shorty” Torres can’t do. The sky truly is the limit for this young phenom. We’re proud to call him one of our own, and we’re lucky to have such a great ambassador for UMMAF, IMMAF and the great sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
Jim Grieshaber is UMMAF’s Executive Producer in charge of content and distribution. He and his partner Melissa Anaya are the Co-Founders of JAMM 7 Multimedia, our official production, marketing, social media partner. You can email Jim at email@example.com.