Jose Torres: No Place Like Home

We’ve heard the two cliches: “there’s no place like home” and “home is where the heart is.” For Jose Torres, better known as Shorty, he’s found his home at Brave CF. After struggling to find his home in the UFC and not surviving the flyweight purge the UFC executed, things worked great for Shorty as he’s incredibly happy in Brave Combat Federation. With his second walk to the cage with the promotion, it’s all eyes on Torres as he takes on the very experienced Sean Santella in the main event as part of the flyweight tournament.

Check out the podcast of this interview featuring Shorty Torres, Cage Warriors contender Jack Grant, and UFC flyweight, Brandon Royval below!

Shorty Torres says his home is at Brave. After not feeling quite welcome in the UFC, despite being a highly sought after prospect coming out of Titan, he was cut and signed with his new home.

“They’re a great promotion. They really helped me out, especially after the UFC. They showed a lot of respect for me instead of what the UFC showed me. Even with the other promotions, were trying to show me. It’s hard to make more money leaving the UFC and Brave is paying me very, very well. Even just behind the scenes, they do take care of me, especially after my father passed away. Usually after a main event, the biggest event in Asia’s history, out of nowhere, everything hits the fan. But they were like, ‘Hey man, we understand what you’re going through. It’s okay, we appreciate that you tried and these things happen.’ Ever since then, it’s been a year and four months since my last fight till this fight takes place. It’s a long time coming, and for Brave to be calling me and talking to me every day making everything is going according to plan. It’ s amazing. I think that’s a lot for a promotion to do.”

Shorty has trained with American Top Team for a long time. But at the turn of the pandemic, he was handed an ultimatum: train at ATT, or train with legendary coach Din Thomas. Torres chose to train with Thomas and left ATT.

“I got kicked out [of ATT]. Din Thomas left the team and ATT is a very tight knit group for two reasons. One, especially right now during COVID, and two, if you’re ATT, you’re ATT. They even have problems with ATT affiliates. If you’re part of the headquarters team, you’re part of the headquarters team. If you’re part of ATT whatever city, then you’re part of that team. They don’t like the cross training, and I don’t know why. But, that’s them. So, when I decided that I wanted to work more one-on-one with Din because he was the coach at American Top Team to really focus on me, they were like, ‘Yeah, yeah, no problem.’ I took their advice and I was keeping on going back and forth. Eventually, then they were like, especially during COVID, they didn’t want any contamination in the gym, people traveling to different places all the time. They said, ‘ You pick one,’ and I picked Din so they were like, ‘Okay, cool. Later.’ I pretty much got kicked out of the gym. I got the boot. It’s perfectly fine, though. American Top Team, they’re a phenomenal team, I’m not belittling them at all. It doesn’t matter how many amazing team members, which there’s plenty of there, or how many amazing coaches there are. There’s only so many coaches per athlete. With this, I have Din Thomas to myself. It’s been a good time. It feels more like a family than a work environment.”

It is the personal touch that Jose Torres likes out of Din Thomas’ training regimen. He feels seen and important to Thomas and he, as well as a handful of fighters, like Gillian Robinson, that remained loyal to Thomas and look to continue to do what they do best which is fight.

“So, we all stay at his house, at least myself and Gillian. We train in St. Louis in Din’s garage. We like to call the team ‘The Firm.’ We train in Din’s garage, Din’s kitchen, wherever the practice takes place. We have been traveling. Din is also Tyron Woodley’s coach. We were in St. Louis three weeks just training and I got back yesterday. Being able to work one on one with Tyron, Din, Gillian and David, and so many others it’s been really, really fun. This his been a very stress free camp when it comes to improving and going as it goes. No matter what, what I need is Din. I don’t need the bodies, I don’t need all these different coaches, I just need my coach at that moment. It’s been Din. He always figures different ways in practice, getting my weight low, getting my mentality right. Everything has been going really, really well.”

Jose Torres Has Found His Home

As mentioned previously, Brave CF has become the home of Shorty Torres. With the promotion being based in Bahrain, he’s spent a lot of time in the country and with some of it’s biggest officials. Torres says the welcoming culture is refreshing in comparison to the competitive nature of the United States and other western nations.

“It’s awesome because I’ve been to Bahrain plenty of times before. I’ve pretty much lived there in the off season because I hang out with a lot of the people there. It’s been a good time. To be able to go to a place where you’re really, really appreciated, it’s a much different environment from The States. I’m not just talking about the culture, I’m talking about the fanbase and people see you and appreciate you compared to the states. Everyone might know who you are, but someone is always talking smack, someone is always saying they’re better and they’re trying to bring you down. The States are a very different place and it’s the land of opportunity. But, it’s very hard opportunity when everyone is trying to pull you down. Other countries are like, ‘Oh! Shorty Torres is here! Dude you’re amazing, you’re awesome. Keep on doing it.’ Everyone does it. It’s really nice to see, hear and it’s just motivation and support which really helps push me forward. For this one, I’m just excited. Bahrain is like a second home to me. All those people, Salman bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the prince of the country, and so many more, all those guys have been really helping me out. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today.”

Coming into this fight, there’s still a big weight on Shorty’s shoulders that’s followed him ever since his departure from the UFC. Being such a competitor, he has an unquenchable urge to prove that he is the best in the world. With the UFC having that stigma about them, it weighs on Torres’ mind and urges him to find new ways to prove that he is among the best on the planet. He reminds people that he’s done things in the past that hasn’t been done and looks to repeat that success at Brave. 

“What I did as an amateur, I was a two time World Champ in the IMMAF. I was a five time World two division Champ in Titan I defended them three times. I want to do the same thing in Brave. I want to show them I can overcome obstacles that have not been done before. I was history making in IMMAF, I was history making in Titan, I want to do what Conor McGregor did in Cage Warriors. He did it at 14-2. I did it at 5-0 and defended a belt. I’ve really got the short end of the stick in the UFC when it came to two extremely last minute fights, nine days and twenty days. With no training camp whatsoever, the ultimatum was given, it was a big mental thing to get past. Even so today, it’ s a lot of things where you have to progress. Being a part of Brave, it’s not just trying to prove to the UFC, but prove to the fans who watch the UFC and watched me weather I had a so-so performance against Jarred Brooks and got knocked out by Alex Perez. I want to show the real me. This fight is not just fighting for people, it’s really for me to prove to myself that I still have it. I’m only 28 years old. I’ve been doing this since I was 4. At times, you get burnt out, but I believe moving to a new team, spending more time with my family, spending more time with my circle instead of spreading myself too thin, it’s been a very humbling but unique experience. I’m really excited for this fight. I’m trying to finish this as fast as possible. I want to prove to the world that Shorty from the Chicago streets is back.”

When we interviewed, Jose Torres had posters of comic book characters behind him. Being in the superhero age, Torres remembers coming from the real golden age of comic books. His upbringing wasn’t ideal and Shorty looked to the heroes on the TV from comics on who to model his life after.

“Honestly, I have so many posters in my room. From college days, I was always in my college dorms. It’s just a white wall so you got to grab a bunch of posters and make it unique. I’ve always been a fan of comics in general. Not reading them, per se, but just the superhero aspect. For me, I didn’t have the best upbringing so my best role models were what I saw on TV, especially in the 90s. You know, X-Men, Spiderman, Power Rangers, even the Ninja Turtles. It was a crazy time. For me, all my role models were fighters fighting for good. I wanted to be a hero just like them so I always had little things around my room, around my life. Just around anywhere. For people who know me, I’m a huge Dragonball Z fan. I’m even wearing Dragonball Z PJ’s right now,” Shorty said showing me his bottoms. “I’m just one of those guys that always has something showing off my childhood.”

Predicting Khabib Versus Gaethje

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje are set to unify their belts. In one of the most anticipated lightweight fights of all time, fans are salivating over the potential Fight of the Year. Given Torres love of comics, I asked him which characters would Khabib and Gaethje be, and his answer was absolutely perfect.

“That’s a really hard one. I love both fighters, I’ve trained with both fighters, I’m friends with both of them. Khabib was part of my team back in 2015. Justin was part of my team when I was at Team Elevation. Both those guys have such unique styles that can win the fight. For this one, if Khabib can hold Gaethje down, then he’s going to win the fight. I just don’t know, given that I haven’t seen Gaethje’s ground game. I don’t know how that’s going to be. Honestly, I think this is like the original Doomsday versus Superman type of thing. I think they’re both going to kill each other in some sort of way. They’re both going out, it just matters who is going out first.”

Tune in on FITE.tv to watch Brave CF 42 this weekend as Jose Torres looks to capture his second victory with the promotion. Follow Torres on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to follow his fight journey.

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