WEC superstar Miguel Torres is taking his talents to the UFC as a result of today’s news that the Ultimate Fighting Championship and World Extreme Cagefighting have merged.
The former bantamweight champion was far and away one of the most recognizable and likable fighters in the promotion, coming in behind former featherweight champion Urijah Faber, the poster boy for the WEC. His career with the promotion will go down as one of the most dominant, alongside the careers of Jose Aldo and Faber, but Torres is excited to begin his career on MMA’s biggest stage.
“It’s pretty wild man,” Torres told Heavy on today’s podcast. “(It’s) something that I’ve been wanting to happen for a long time and now it’s here. It’s going to give me a bigger audience and show how much of a badass I am.”
During his reign as bantamweight champion, Torres developed his reputation as a world class athlete and fighter, earning the attention and respect of the fans. However, that was not the case for many of the lighter fighters. Bantamweights, featherweights, and lightweights in the WEC fought for much less money than the fighters in the UFC and received very little attention .
Now, Torres realizes that the merger is an opportunity to be seen by even more of the MMA community, along with giving the lighter weight classes the attention they have long deserved.
“Worldwide, in the grand scheme of things, it’s huge,” Torres said. “I was already known worldwide, but now people anywhere in the world, they’re going to see our fights now. Everything in general the UFC is going to offer the lighter weight class fighters is going to be huge. It puts on potential match ups for different fighters in the UFC and it’s going to bring the better competition now.”
While the merger gives the fighters of the WEC attention unlike anything they have experienced thus far in their careers, like Torres said, it also amps up the competition by allowing fighters to have two other weight classes to compete at. He specifically pointed out UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.
“You’re going to see a lot of (fighters dropping weight classes),” Torres said. “Look at Frankie Edgar. He could easily make 135. Frankie’s a good example. He’s a champ at 155 and could be a champion at any weight class he wants. 155, 135, and 145 (pound divisions).”
The merger certainly provides WEC fighters with opportunities they have never had before. However, aside from the increased exposure and competition, they are going to receive something they have long waited for; a pay raise. And Torres is certainly one of the many to be stoked about the extra coin coming his way.
“For sure it does (feel good to know your salary will increase),” Torres said. “But you know what they say, “More money, more problems. And I love problems”.