Titan FC 43 Jose Torres
Jose Torres at Titan FC 43. Photo: Sonder Marketing

At Titan FC 44, Jose “Shorty” Torres once again goes in search of history, as he aims to capture his second world title against bantamweight champion Farkhad Sharipov.

Current flyweight belt holder Torres will feature as the headliner for Titan FC 44 which takes place Friday, May 19 at the Pembroke Pines City Center in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The event will be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass.

Chicago native Torres captured his first major professional MMA title after just two fights, beating Abdiel Velazquez in August 2016 to win the Titan Fighting Championship 125lb crown. With the promotion’s spotlight fixed on his rise, Torres would impress further in his first title defence, finishing Brazilian opponent Pedro Nobre in just 86 seconds.

After just four fights, Torres is in search of his next world title, against the superior experience of Kyrgyzstani Sharipov (17-7) on May 19.

The 33-year-old bantamweight champion who trains out of Gracie Barra Orlando is without question Torres’s most difficult task to date, but despite the odds being stacked against him, “Shorty” feels his amateur experience will serve him well as he continues his quest to become the Vasyl Lomachenko of MMA.

With an amateur record of 396-1, Lomachenko is often recognised as the greatest amateur boxer in the sport’s history, giving him a serious amount of credibility as he continues to surge amongst the pro ranks. Torres, on the other hand, may have only reached the heights of 25-1, but in a much newer sport, he is still largely considered to be the most accomplished amateur MMA fighter ever.

“Paper wise I definitely look like the underdog, I think skill wise I’d be the fighter picked to win,” said Torres. “A guy has nothing but professional experience compared to the amateur experience, it’s much more different but I think the way I’ve handled myself as a professional, matchmaking the fights myself and even creating this fight against Farkhad Sharipov. I’m trying to be the Vasyl Lomachenko of MMA, I’m trying to create history not just as an amateur but as a professional as well.

“I think I was able to do that with three professional fights in five months, claiming the Titan FC flyweight championship and now defending it against a guy who’s 18-2 in 86 seconds, who’s never been finished before. Now I’m trying to claim a 5-0, the Titan FC flyweight champ and hold two belts simultaneously, the first in the promotion’s history and I think the first in the world for a 5-0 professional athlete to be able to do that.”

Moving up to 135lbs, two-time IMMAF world champion Torres holds one distinct advantage over his opponent and that is getting to train with one of the top bantamweight fighters in the world, former UFC world champion T.J. Dillashaw. Helping Dillashaw prepare for his fight against John Lineker at UFC 207, it’s this experience which Torres credited for his ability to knock out Nobre at Titan FC 43.

“I’m at MusclePharm in Denver, Colorado with Team Elevation, Duane Ludwig and T.J. Dillashaw, to be able to train with one of the best bantamweight champions in the world, I think because of that I was able to knockout Pedro Nobre in 86 seconds and I think because of that I will be able to claim the Titan FC bantamweight championship very soon.”

Titan FC 43
Jose Torres with the Kamehameha technique before his fight. Kamehameha. Photo: Sonder Marketing

Torres on being a role model and UFC call up

Growing up in Chicago, Illinois, Torres admitted his unsettled youth and lack of role models is what gave him greater clarity, deciding to pursue MMA. With his growing reputation inside the cage, the Combat-Do man aims to fill that potential void for young Chicagoans who may be going down a similar path.

“For me, besides being short, I do always say I’m just another “Shorty” trying to come up. For me in Chicago trying to make it out of the neighbourhood, and show other people that I can do the same.

“In Chicago, I didn’t have the best role models coming up and I was involved in gangs and drugs and doing all the dumbass atypical teenager trying to experiment and find out who you are. But in Chicago, at least in my neighbourhood, you do struggle with that and there are a lot of teenagers who do struggle with that and I know many people today who still pretty much do the same thing and haven’t moved anywhere in life since they were 14. I want to show other kids in my neighbourhood, I don’t care if your parents are in gangs, drug dealers or whatever the case like mine were, you can do so much better like I’m doing now, whether it be fighting or whatever job you look to pursue.”

With a world championship, an 86 second knockout and more gold possibly on the way, it’s hard to deny the body of work Torres has sewn together in such a short space of time. But in spite of this, Torres still feels like he is being denied opportunities.

After his destruction of Pedro Nobre, “Shorty” and his team were calling out to the UFC to take notice. Their reaction; or lack of, has spurred Torres on for his biggest fight yet.

“I talked to a few people, Mick Maynard who is my flyweight matchmaker, he literally said ‘who’s Jose “Shorty” Torres’, so that was definitely off to a good start. And then Sean Shelby said, ‘hey, he’s only 4-0, he needs more fights’ which I understand it, I did defend my belt but if they want me to have more fights, then so be it.”

If the UFC do not come calling? No fuss, says Torres, who is content to keep doing what he’s doing, and further solidify his status as one of the biggest prospects currently on the circuit.

“If they don’t want me, I’m going to stick with Titan FC, go back down to flyweight, defend it, moving it back and forth defending the belts. If they do deny me after this fight, I’d find it honestly as a sure disrespect because again I’ve done something that no one’s been able to do mainly at such a fast pace.”