March 31, 2009
WEC champion Miguel Torres is not just a fighter, but a family man, a business man, a teacher and a proud mullet-wearer. Click here to read the first part of Cage Writer's interview with Torres, and read on to find out where his mullet came from, how he wishes he could clone himself, and how he is trying to revolutionize the "Buffer Turn."
Where did the mullet come from?
My dad has had a mullet his whole life, and he has curly hair, so his mullet is much more awesome than mine. It's a Mexican thing. I did it for the Bedard fight, and a lot of the girls I know said that it was ugly, but that's how I feel on the inside. I have to be an ugly person when I fight. If I was worried about looks, I would not be a fighter.
Living in the gym while training, your family does make quite a sacrifice for you to be where you are as a fighter. How do you and your wife handle that?
There's no choice. I'm at a point where I
can't go back. As soon as I signed with the WEC, I told my girl I was
going to be the champ. I knew it was in my destiny to do it. She said I
understand, I know what it's going to take, and I said it was going to
be rough. We got married, my daughter was born on the 26th, and I left
on the 27th to go to Vegas. I held my daughter, I stayed in the
hospital that night, and then I went home and threw my clothes in a
suitcase and went to Vegas, where I beat Jeff Bedard.
There was a five-month period after that where I was taking care of my daughter. I'd have her at the gym with me. The noise of the pads and the bells never bothered her. It put her to sleep, so I said, "You're going to be a fighter one day." I'm changing diapers on the mats, feeding her. My wife resents that I'm away so much, but at the same time, our life is so much better because of the sacrifices I'm making. And it's going to be even better. My daughter is going to have every door and every opportunity open to her because of the sacrifices I'm making now. I hope she appreciates it. That's why I only want to do it for another three, four more years.
So you would like to see your daughter fight?
I would definitely want to see my daughter fight. I want to have more kids, but I don't want to have another baby and then be gone all the time. When I retire, I want to have more kids. If I have a son, he's going to fight. He's going to have to. But I know I'm going to have all daughters. All fighters have girls. I think that's God's way of saying I blessed with you being a great fighter, but now I'm going to balance you out.
You've been called on of the best fighters in the world. Are you comfortable with that title? Does it put extra pressure on you?
You can't determine who the best fighter in the world is. That's a heavy burden for someone to carry. In this sport, anything can happen with one punch. Urijah Faber was the WEC poster boy, he gets knocked out and then look what happens to him. I think there are guys who can be put into tier one, and though I would put myself in there, I can never consider myself the best in the world. It's so hard to figure out pound-for-pound. You'd have to make a computer simulation of my skill set, against Fedor's skill set, and even then, it takes a lot away from the actual fight. I don't feel any extra pressure from that title. I get letters and fan mail saying, "You're the best fighter in the world," but I've only been on the scene for a year, year and a half. No one has seen what I can do. The flip kick I did against Tapia, I've done that twice before and actually landed it. In two years, maybe they can say it, but it's premature now because no one has seen what I can do yet. The guys I train with every day, or Carlson Gracie, before he died, they can say it. I believe in myself, but no one has seen what I can do yet.
Though you're only 28, you've fought in a lot of fights. Does that wear on you?
I've had a long career. Maybe I want to fight for three-five more years. People say, "You're so young," but I don't feel young. I get out of bed, and it's crack, crack, crack. My body has been through a lot. I've had no serious injuries, but mentally, it gets to me. I'm in the gym all the time. I go to sleep here, I wake up here. I want to enjoy myself. I want to get fat, and teach. I love teaching. I've got a ton of students, from 8-15, and in five years, seven years, they'll be ready to start their careers, and I'll have the connections to help them with that. Even just promoting fights, expanding my gym, helping out the community, I have a lot I want to do, and fighting takes me away from that. To be a good fighter, you've got to give it your all, so I'm not able to do everything I want to do. I need to make four of me. The fighter, the father, the husband, the teacher, and then the guy who can go out and have fun.
You're a fighter without a nickname. Do you want one?
They've tried giving me nicknames before, and my dad gave me my name. I've never been a big fan of nicknames. I just didn't want it. I just wanted to have my name. And I love [WEC announcer Joe] Martinez. He's the man. He says my name right. Bruce Buffer has said that he wants me in the UFC so he can announce me, but I told him he needs to learn Spanish first. He's going to sound kinda dry saying my name.
I'm trying to get Buffer to do the Elvis kick. I always critique his performance. He does the 180 thing, and he's thinking of doing the 360 for UFC 100, but I want him to throw a hard front kick. Elvis did it. If you ever see Buffer doing a kick, you'll know who to credit it to.
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