Miguel Torres and Joseph Benavidez are looking to make a statement with their WEC 47 bout this weekend. Torres needs to let the world know that his one loss to Brian Bowles didn't sideline his career, while Benavidez is trying to re-establish himself as a title contender.
"I can't underestimate him," Torres said. "He's the most dangerous opponent I've ever faced. This fight is more important than any title fight. It's going to put a statement on the rest of my career."
Benavidez thinks that a win over Torres will set up a bantamweight title shot, and feels more prepared for the bout because he isn't coming off a loss like Torres is. Torres' last bout was the loss to Bowles. Benavidez lost to Dominick Cruz on that same night, but then quickly TKOed Rani Yahya in December.
"I think this fight is a fight away from the title with me and Miguel. This is a title fight for me. This is the biggest fight I've had," Benavidez said. "I lost, and that happened for a reason. I was happy that I got a fight in-between. No one else did, and I think that helped."
Torres completely revamped his training camp after the loss to Bowles. He left the gym he owns in northwest Indiana, and worked with Robert Drysdale in Las Vegas and Kurt Pellegrino in New Jersey to get ready for Benavidez's style.
"I tried to seek out a lot of guys with his style," Torres said. "I know he's going to come in with big looping punches and wild kicks to try to throw me off my game. I've got to stay controlled, stay focused and fight my game plan, use my reach, and in the clinch, use my height."
Benavidez had the good fortune to train with two other men also fighting on this card. Danny Castillo and Chad Mendes -- who Benavidez called a grizzly bear -- are teammates of Benavidez. Castillo will face Anthony Pettis while Mendes, a Division I NCAA finalist, will make his WEC debut against Erik Koch.
"We all share the same goal to come down and win," Benavidez said. "We want to get three wins. It's just great to share this experience with them. We're all peaking, so when we're going against each other, we're going against the best teammates we can ask for."
Both men need wins. It's not that either are in a win or go home situation, but to get their careers back on the trajectories that were headed straight up less than a year ago, they have to come away with a victory.
Cagewriter and Yahoo! Sports will have complete coverage of WEC 47 live from Columbus.