Jose “Shorty” Torres has had a meteoric rise to success and he credits a lot of it to his amateur career.
Torres made his professional MMA début in March of 2016 and by August he was 3-0 and the Titan FC flyweight champion. However, when Torres made his début he was by no means green in the sport. He entered the pro ranks with 25-1 amateur record and was a 2x National and World Amateur MMA Champion. Torres credits a lot of his professional success to his coach demanding he take at least 20 amateur fights before turning pro.
“My coach immediately said, ‘hey, you’re going to go 20 straight fights. I don’t care if you go 0-20, 20-0 or 50/50 record, I want you to get at least 20 amateur fights before you turn pro, so at least you can say when you face somebody who’s professional that you faced someone like that before,'” Torres said. “‘You have that experience and you’re not just going to fight in Chicago (where I’m from) we’re going to fight in Missouri, we’re going to fight in New York, we’re going to fight in different states, we’re going to fight in different countries just because you don’t want to be the big fish in the little pond and that’s pretty much what I did.'”
And that is exactly what his amateur experience gave him. As Torres looks back at his first three fights and the fight in front of him, he says he’s faced all of these people before and he draws confidence from that.
“I turned pro against Travis Taylor – no offence to that guy, but I had fought people like him before. It gave me an extra level of experience against these guys,” Torres said. “When I fought Reynaldo Duarte I fought people before that would never give up. When I fought Abdiel Velazquez I fought guys who were nothing but defensive fighters who like to do nothing but counter all the time. Pedro Nobre is another guy that I have fought before, he’s just a lot more experienced than some of the people I have fought and that is why I took this challenge.”
During his time as an amateur Torres also set himself up for life after fighting by attending and graduating from college on a full ride wrestling scholarship. Something he wanted to do before making MMA his full-time career.
“I ended up getting a full ride to division two wrestling,” Torres said. “I was like oh well, I might as well get my college degree, so I decided to hold off on my pro career until I got my bachelors degree”
At the end of it all, Torres believes his amateur experience is was necessary for all of his success as a pro.
“I wanted to show that my amateur career was worth it. I wanted to make a point that experience helps,” he said.