by Richard L. Figueroa / Advertising Manager
Standing at 5’4, 27-year-old professional fighter Jose Torres, from Chicago, has been known as Shorty for the greater part of his life. Growing up, his father always wanted his sons to know how to defend themselves, so they were taught to fight at a young age. “We just had different shares of opportunities and I took every opportunity that was in front of me,” said Torres.
The nickname Shorty was passed on to Torres by his father, who went by the name of Shorty G. “Technically that is my full nickname, but everyone just called me Shorty ever since I was a little kid. Even at school, no one really knew my first name. Coming from a Latino background, you say ‘Jose,’ everyone turns around,” said Torres.
Torres began to train in martial arts at a young age, and received his black belt at the age of 12. 63-year-old martial arts instructor Bob Schirmer met Torres at age 15 when he joined his gym Combat-Do in Cicero, IL. He has coached him through boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, judo, MMA and seven world professional titles. “He’s dedicated, he’s smart, he’s intelligent and he’s loyal,” said Schirmer.
Torres’ older brother, 35-year-old Orlando Torres from Chicago, recalls watching Bruce Lee movies after coming home from karate practice when they were kids. “We would watch Bruce Lee, Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers, we would look at each other and start play fighting. As he got older, he kept getting stronger and stronger,” said Orlando Torres. “I can’t even explain how happy I am for my brother, it’s not easy. Everything is hard work.”
Torres had a decision to make when the time to go to college came around. “Honestly, I wasn’t the best student, and I was afraid of spending all this money and ending up just dropping out or getting kicked out because of academic probation,” Torres said. “So I had three choices: go to school—like at a junior college, join the military or keep working at the pizzeria I was working at.”
Torres’ next decision would change his life forever. He decided to commit to Triton College in River Grove, IL, and gave both wrestling and academics all of his attention. During that time, he accumulated more than 100 wins at the collegiate level, and became a National Junior College Athletic Association All-American wrestler as a result. He also won Triton College MVP twice and Triton College Athlete of the Year in 2012.
“Triton ended up giving me a real fair chance at life. After that, I transferred to McKendree University where I earned a full ride,” said Torres. Torres graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
This year, Torres was able to give back to Triton College by donating gear to the wrestling team. “I was really happy that I was able to do that because of my MMA career. If it wasn’t for Triton College, I wouldn’t be able to do it,” said Torres.
Right after college, Torres was able to go right into doing what he loved. As an amateur MMA fighter, he lost his first fight, but then went on a 25-match winning streak. During his time as an amateur, he was a two-time USA National Mixed Martial Arts (UMMAF) champion as well as a two-time world MMA champion of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF.) He was also a two-time gold medalist during the Pan American Kickboxing Games.
Soon after, Torres went pro, winning nine times and losing once. He also joined the UFC for a short time. All together, he is a seven-time world champion in the MMA.
Besides being a professional fighter, Torres has been a play-by-play commentator in Titan Fighting Championships and in the Brave Combat Federation. He also has a YouTube series called “Inside Team Shorty” where he sits down and talks to his fans—giving them an inside scoop regarding his career and personal life.
On Nov. 15, Torres will be competing in the Brave Combat Federation flyweight world championship against 27-year-old Marcel Adur from Brazil. If Torres wins this fight, he will pick up his eighth MMA world title.
This year, Torres created the Team Shorty Foundation. “It supports kids, teens and young adults to stay inside the gym and off the streets,” said Torres.
Torres claims that he plans to keep on fighting till the very end for as far as his body allows him to go. After his retirement in years to come, he wants to continue his legacy and hopes to open up a gym. He also wants to expand the Team Shorty Foundation and coach other fighters to victory.