As much as Miguel Torres would welcome a fight against Urijah Faber, he can’t help but mention it ain’t the fight it once was.
Not all that long ago the two were considered unstoppable forces in the WEC. That much was illustrated when they fought on the same card June 1, 2008 in Sacramento. Faber defended the featherweight belt for the fifth time that night. Torres did the same as bantamweight champion, the first of what would be three title defenses. Collectively, the two held a record of 56-2.
A fight between the champs then would have been a massive event, with the winner having a legitimate claim as perhaps the best in the world. Today, things are different.
“Now, there’s only bragging rights,” Torres told ESPN.com. “He’s coming off a loss. I’m coming off a loss. He’s had four title shots since then. He lost twice to Mike Brown, to Jose Aldo and now to Dominick Cruz. I lost fights to one of his students [Joseph Benavidez] and Brian Bowles.
“All the momentum we both had, we kind of lost. That fight is still one fans want to see, but I think this fight a couple years ago would have been a lot bigger.”
Torres isn’t crying over spilled milk. It’s not bitterness in his voice; it’s desire to get back to where he once was.
The 30-year-old fighter is still trying to get back to his feet from the knockout punch Brian Bowles landed on him at WEC 42 in August 2009. He’s 2-2 since then and continues, as he puts it, looking for a balance between “new Miguel and old Miguel.”
His spirits are high, despite suffering a unanimous decision loss to Demetrious Johnson in his last fight at UFC 130 in May. Many, including Torres, felt he won the fight. UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta even approached him immediately after.
“He came up and said it was a good performance,” Torres said. “I won’t say exactly what he said but he expressed his concern over the scoring. [UFC matchmakers] Sean Shelby and Joe Silva just said, ‘Don’t let it go to the judges.’”
The loss has left Torres fewer options in opponents. The UFC is known for passing on matchups between one fighter coming off a loss and the other, a win.
One fight in particular the loss ruined is a highly coveted rematch against Bowles, who edged Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 132 and should be in strong consideration for a title shot.
“One hundred percent, I would love to fight Brian Bowles,” Torres said. “That’s a fight I’ve wanted for the past two years. He’s the first guy to ever knock me out and take my title. It’s a grudge match for me.
“But he beat Mizugaki and Joe [Silva] has mentioned to me they never match up a guy coming off a win and off a loss. I’d have to run it by him and see what he says.”
A fight against Faber does make sense for the UFC, with both guys coming off losses in which they still looked impressive. Torres is open to the fight and would like to return to the cage in October or November.
It’s maybe not the fight it once would have been, but if it’s a step back toward that, Torres is in.
“It’d be a great fight for me because I never had the chance to fight him and we were on top for a long time,” he said. “What sucks is we both don’t really have as much to gain as we did two years ago, but it’s still a fight I’m looking forward to.”