Just a minute or two ago, Jose “Shorty” Torres was the new hype in the UFC, an unbeaten young competitor out of Chicago who had held both bantamweight and flyweight titles in Titan FC.
Then, as soon as you blinked, Torres was gone, cut after going 1-1 in a pair of short-notice fights just two months apart.
He’s since landed on his feet, recently announcing that he had signed on with the Bahrain-based Brave CF.
But as he looks back on his whirlwind UFC stint, one in which he scored a second-round TKO of Jarred Brooks on nine days’ notice, and then lost in the first round to Alex Perez on 20 days’ notice, Torres believes he got a good look at the inner machinations of the company’s endless conveyor belt.
“At least in my experience, I learned that we’re just very, very expendable,” Torres told MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “There are a lot of veterans I’ve talked to and a lot of guys who have been removed by the UFC and it’s like, once you’re in, that’s it. You have to fight. If you’re not their, you know, Anderson Silva, you’re not their champ, you’re not Brian Ortega, the guys they’re really trying to promote, then, that’s it. You’re just meat to the wolves.”
Torres found himself among the early cuts back in November when rumors started swirling about the future of the UFC flyweight division. He was particularly annoyed the UFC didn’t seem receptive to giving him a try at 135, where he’s been a champion, or that he wasn’t given an opportunity to show what he could do on a full training camp after agreeing to take two short notice fights with significant weight cuts down to 125.
But while his period of unemployment was stressful, he did his best not to sweat things, especially since he had seen other fighters around his size land on their feet after leaving the UFC.
“I’m 26 years old, I’ve got nothing but time,” Torres said. “Look at Kyoji Horiguchi, he got cut or he ended up leaving early in his career and now RIZIN is pretty much just, you know, [Floyd] Mayweather in a sense and there’s just so many other fighters who have done the same thing, moved to different promotions and still extremely succeeded very very well and so for me it was just trying to find the road and I believe for me, Brave was just the right home. It took time. It really was a struggle, it was stressful, wondering if you’re going to fight again, when you’re going to fight again, who’s going to sign you for what money, and finding the best deal possible.”
About a month later, Torres found a new home in Brave, where he’ll fight Amir Albazi in his debut bout on March 15 in Manila. Thus far, Torres says that his experience with Brave has been everything that he expected his UFC relationship to be, but wasn’t.
“What I got with Brave now is what I expected with the UFC,” Torres said. “When you see the UFC is the biggest promotion in the world and the most popular promotion in the world, you expect them to respect their fighters to the fullest and do this and be in communication with them and just keep everything in check, but, it wasn’t.”
The way things have panned out in the UFC’s flyweight division since he was cut has only further exacerbated Torres’ thoughts on the way they UFC seemed in such a rush to push 125ers out the door.
Flyweight champion Henry Cejudo not only fended off the invasion of bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw on Jan. 19, but knocked him out in under a minute, breathing vitality into a division the UFC seemed determined to kill.
“I wish they would have prolonged this a little bit instead of releasing all the flyweights now,” Torres said. “They should have waited for the T.J.-Cejudo fight, and if Cejudo won, which he did then possibly rebuild and get this new hype in the flyweight division, but they did it so early that, even if Cejudo won, they already cut more than 80 percent of the division. Aww sorry guys, come on back, my bad. It doesn’t make sense for them. They’re just doing process of elimination and cutting as they go.”