(Miguel may have lost a pint of blood, but he *gained* a pint of valuable life experience. / Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
There was a time when Miguel Torres looked absolutely untouchable in the WEC bantamweight division. But after two consecutive stoppage losses to Brian Bowles and Joseph Benavidez, the former champion finds himself in an odd position — in the middle of the 135-pound pack, fighting up the ladder like everybody else. Torres will return to competition at WEC 51 (September 30th; Broomfield, Colorado) against Charlie Valencia, who is 5-3 in the WEC and has picked up three-straight decision victories against Seth Dikun, Coty Wheeler, and Akitoshi Tamura. Not a bad resume, but Torres doesn’t plan on adding his name to it. In fact, he’s already planning to, well, return to the old Miguel. As he tells MMA Fighting:
"I’m looking to come back and use my old style and stay aggressive, and just beat the (crap) out of people…
"The fight with Bowles, I ended up getting caught. But a lot of doubts started creeping into my mind that maybe I am too open, maybe I am too aggressive, maybe I am too crazy. So I tried to revert to a different style that wasn’t mine. That whole training camp (for Benavidez), I was training for a fight that wasn’t my style. And it was just frustrating because my style is to come forward. My style is to press my opponent. My style is to strike from any direction. The whole time against Benavidez, I was going back on purpose…
"I’m really frustrated, not just with my performance (against Benavidez), but with myself in general in holding back and not fighting my last fight. My last fight really made me angry. Every second I didn’t attack, I let my opponent’s confidence grow. And it was very frustrating to watch that fight because I didn’t fight. The Bowles fight, at least I went for it. I hurt him, I chased him, I got caught. I went for it, I got caught. The Benavidez fight, I didn’t do (crap). I did not do one thing."
In other words, he’s going to revert to the style that got him starched against Bowles, because it’s better to die on your feet than get choked out on your knees, or something like that. Maybe that’s cause for concern, but the bottom line is that Torres needs to regain his confidence. If he can locate his old aggression — while keeping his chin protected this time — he could have a good night against Valencia.
The current lineup for WEC 51 is:
A rematch between Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner has also been reported, though Varner may be holding out for a title rematch with Ben Henderson.