From Mackenzie Dern missing weight by nearly an entire weight class, to Darren Till’s misadventure in his hometown of Liverpool, to Dana White saying the UFC will attempt to move their weigh-ins back to the old late-afternoon format instead of the early weigh-ins used over the past two years, the subject of weight-cutting has been front and center in recent weeks.
Into that environment stepped Jose “Shorty” Torres, who had to drop 26 pounds in nine days … as a flyweight.
The 5-foot-4 Torres, who came into UFC Utica as the LFA flyweight and bantamweight champion, accepted the bout with Jarred Brooks on nine days’ notice after Hector Sandoval had to drop out. But he weighed 151 pounds at the time, which he knew was going to make the next eight days up until weigh-ins difficult.
“It was easily the most difficult cut and the most difficult problem was mentally,” Torres said on a recent edition of The MMA Hour.
Torres said that he teamed up with his nutritionist to make sure he was on the right track and handling himself correctly leading up to the big cut. But while he didn’t have physical issues, the mental part of losing 20 percent of his body weight was what was most challenging.
“Physically it wasn’t difficult, because we did the proper things to move down,” Torres said. “But mentally it was draining, the damn heat, the sauna and the hot tub and eight pounds over and you’re working out again and it’s heat, heat, heat and taking a small break and going back to the sauna. It wasn’t fun at all.”
Torres did, in fact, hesitate when he was first offered the fight, in part because of all the recent headlines about bad weight cuts. In the end, though, he had said no to the UFC on several occasions and wondered if he might not get another call if he kept saying no.
“When they’ve called me [on short notice] I’ve been like, ‘Hey, sorry,’” Torres said. “For me, technically I was healthy enough to take it, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I’m not a fan of these last-minute weight cuts. You see the Mackenzie Derns and Darren Tills and all these guys who are not performing the way they want to perform.”
Torres claims things never got as bad as the now-infamous video of Till’s weight cut which made the rounds.
“We knew we were going to make weight, it was the mental aspect,” he said. “Physically, we knew we were sweating, we knew we could do it. Mentally, I just didn’t want to do it anymore. We did a full work it, it took me the last day I had about four pounds to lose. It took me maybe five hours to do it.”
Torres made the weight, then went out and had a memorable UFC debut, as Brooks knocked himself silly while attempting a slam, enabling Torres to finish Brooks and maintain his undefeated record.
But even though he’s experienced success at both 125 and 135, he’s going to stick with flyweight, despite what he had to subject himself to last week. The way he sees it, there’s a lot shorter path to the top at flyweight than bantamweight.
“Right now if feel like 125 is the weight class I want to go,” Torres said. “I feel like the weight class definitely needs me. Everyone has been recycled.
“The whole division is stacked, but because Demetrious Johnson is such a phenomenal fighter, he’s made the whole division look boring. So they need someone like me, I believe I can create the exciting fights.”