Photo: Esther Lin / MMAFighting.com
From the not so luxurious accommodations in South Florida, to the familiar comfort of Canada, Miguel Torres has been dividing his training between two elite camps. After spending several weeks with the Blackzilians, he is now at the Tristar gym, training with Firas Zahabi, Rick Hawn and many other MMA specialists. I recently caught up with Miguel, and got his thoughts on his upcoming bout with Michael McDonald at UFC 145, and what it's like to be crammed into a one bed hotel room with three other guys.
Stephie Daniels: You mentioned Rick Hawn is at Tristar right now. Are you actively training with him, and incorporating some judo into your game?
Miguel Torres: I'm incorporating everything. I've been working on my wrestling for the last two years. Ever since I came to Tristar, I've been making wrestling the one thing that I train every day. I'm not a true wrestler at heart, but I do train like one. There's a lot of things that don't come naturally to me, so I've had to immerse myself in wrestling. Along with wrestling, you kind of have to incorporate some judo. I just watched Rick knock somebody out seven or eight days ago, and he's already in the gym training. He's fighting in three or four weeks, and he's already been here for four days already. He's a beast. He's one of the guys that I look up to. He's a great role model.
Stephie Daniels: Do you feel that you'll be McDonald's toughest challenge?
Miguel Torres: 100% yes. He's a great fighter. I'm not putting anything past him. I've studied his fights. He's a good counter striker, but he hasn't fought anybody super tough yet, and I'm going to be his biggest challenge to date. He's a good person, and I have nothing negative to say about him.
Stephie Daniels: Although the surrounding set of circumstances were different, you were recently in a similar situation as Mo Lawal, regarding public tweets. What are your thoughts on that whole affair, and do you have any advice for him?
Miguel Torres: I don't know. Our situations are a little bit different. I like King Mo a lot. He's one of those guys that I always watch when he fights, and there's very few that I always watch. It was messed up, what happened. The situation he got stuck in, and how it went down was bad. When I got put in that situation, I manned up. I know I made a mistake, and I owned up to it. I tried to rectify it as much as possible, and learn from it and grow. I would say he'd probably need to do the same thing. He has to own up to it, and rectify it. It's a step in the right direction. If he's true to that, and he sticks to it, then good things are going to come to him.
Stephie Daniels: Are you excited to be fighting in Atlanta, or does the locale not really make a difference?
Miguel Torres: I'd fight in a hallway, an alley, the back of a little bar. For me, it doesn't matter. The place I fight in is just a name. For me, the only place I'm fighting in, is the octagon. I don't get to take in any scenery. I get there, I'm stuck in a hotel or a gym. I'm a little upset, and I'm cutting weight. I'm hungry and thirsty, and I'm looking to kick someone's ass. There's nothing fun about that whole situation until after the fight, and even then, it's a blur. What you guys get to enjoy, when you go to a fight, I don't get to enjoy, so for me, it's just the octagon.
Stephie Daniels: What do you get that's different from the two camps you've chosen to train with?
Miguel Torres: To me, the two camps are very similar. The biggest difference in the Blackzilians and Tristar is just the training partners. With the Blackzilians, I have a ton of guys that are huge. I've got Marcus Aurelio, JZ, a ton of great coaches, great workouts. Mike Van Arsdale, Tyron Spong, Mario Sperry is there...there's just a ton of great pros. For me, the big difference is the amount of training partners I have. There are like 30 guys here at Tristar that are my size that I get to train with on a daily basis. Most of those guys are pros. They're in Bellator, Strikeforce or the UFC. For me, both are great places to train.
Stephie Daniels: Talk a little about being in full training mode, and your state of mind as your camp starts winding down.
Miguel Torres: I don't feel like I've hit my prime yet. I'm working with so many different guys. I'm picking up things from here and there. I'm only 31. I'm still young. My body has been holding up well. I've been training a lot smarter than the way I used to. I feel like I've gotten a second chance at life. I have no stress. Before the last two or three years, I had a ton of stress from my gym, but now I have my sister helping me out. She's doing a great job. I'm in a real good place right now.
Stephie Daniels: What are your thoughts on Faber and Cruz, and have you watched any of this season's TUF?
Miguel Torres: I haven't been able to catch it because I'm here in Canada. I did catch a couple of the fights online though. They're both great fighters, so they've got to be great coaches. I think their fight is going to be a good one. I think if Dominick is healthy, he might have Urijah's number. I think he has the riddle of a shorter wrestler solved. Me fighting either one of those guys would be a great fight, but eventually, down the road, I think I'll end up fighting both of them.
Stephie Daniels: Sharing your very modest lodgings in Florida with three other athletes had to lead to some comedic moments. Van you relate one of your funnier moments?
Miguel Torres: You've got 4 dudes staying in one room. Clothes, shin pads, training gear, cups, food and garbage and haircuts...after like two or three days, we realized it was the biggest mistake ever. We had three and a half weeks like that. The funniest thing for me, was we'd get back from training. We'd be gone for eight or ten hours, and we'd get back from the gym, and the door to the room has been closed the whole time, so we'd have to open the door to air it out. We'd open the windows and open the door. People were calling to complain that there was a smell in the hallway. The security guard came up, and he was only in the room for five seconds before wanting to know what was going on in there. He was actually a fan, and talked to us for about 15 minutes, but the whole time, he was holding his nose, so that was kinda of funny.
Stephie Daniels: In the course of that three and a half weeks, did you ever get used to the smell?
Miguel Torres: You get used to it, but then again, you never really get used to that smell. It's like when you're using the bathroom after you ate something bad. It's your smell, but it's still a little disturbing. It's still a little off putting. Now imagine that, and you have three guys next to you, with no walls. There were other guys in the hotel, that lucked out and got their own rooms, they would stop by our room, because we're the cool guys [laughs], and the look on their face, from the beginning through about 15 minutes, was utter disgust. He'd be sitting there, with this look on his face, and I'd say, 'Well why don't you just invite us to your room. You're being a real jerk', but he didn't want to attract the smell to his room.
Stephie Daniels: Make a prediction for your fight, and what round you think it will end in.
Miguel Torres: I think the first round is going to start off very, very explosive. I know he's a great counter puncher, and the way you beat a counter striker is with pressure, so I think we're going to bang it out the first round. I think the second round is where it's going to end.
Follow Miguel via his Twitter account @MiguelTorresMMA