Merely seven months ago, Miguel Torres was on a 17-fight win streak and, frankly, he seemed quite unstoppable. At that time, he had fought 38 fights total in his nine-year career, he had won 37 of them, and lost only one. His record itself was a remarkable achievement, especially since he had also avenged his only loss.
People were beginning to accept that Torres simply could not be beaten. With each win, he was further cementing his legacy. With each win, he climbed higher and higher on the list of top P4P fighters in the world. Soon he would be the undisputed P4P king, and it seemed as if nobody could stop him.
However, Torres must have felt his invincibility, and he sure liked it. Over time, Torres unfortunately began to take his top position for granted. He fought more and more recklessly in his fights.
Putting a lot of pressure on his opponents was once Torres' strength, but due to the lack of defense he showed, it was slowly, and surely, becoming a glaring weakness.
On Aug. 9, 2009, Torres faced what the vast majority of MMA fans, and probably he himself, thought would be just another fighter in the Bantamweight division destined to fail against his unstoppable force. Unfortunately for Torres, what he thought would happen and what actually happened were two very different things indeed.
Brian Bowles was, as of that time, undefeated, and he had earned the title shot after beating strong fighters such as Charlie Valencia, Marcos Galvao, Damacio Page, and Will Ribeiro. He had only fought seven fights in his career previous to his fight with Torres, yet four of them had been with such seasoned veterans as the ones mentioned above.
Perhaps we MMA fans should have seen that Bowles was not quite the inexperienced fighter that we previously assumed.
When Torres and Bowles started the first round, both of them were cautious, choosing to measure each other up with leg kicks before throwing strikes. After a few minutes, both fighters landed a few punches until Torres caught Bowles and, thinking he had the fight in the bag, charged. This proved to be a fatal mistake.
Torres should have just been content with rocking Bowles with a few punches and simply continuing the pace to take the first round, but his reckless mistake cost him dearly. Bowles floored him with a counterattack and proceeded to finish Torres off on the ground to give Torres his first loss in nearly six years.
It was certainly a big wake-up call for Torres. He claimed he wasn't fazed by his loss against Bowles, and called it a "blessing in disguise." He said all it did was motivate him more, and he and his fans eventually concluded that his loss versus Bowles wasn't that much of a big deal.
After all, every fighter loses at some point in his career, and this one loss doesn't put his whole career in jeopardy, right?
Countless fighters in MMA never recover from a loss, especially one in which the fighter is brutally KO'ed. Although it may have seemed unlikely at first, Torres could very will be one of those fighters. Against Benavidez he seemed hesitant to strike and never really landed any punches of consequence, despite his 11-inch reach advantage.
His ability to put pressure on his opponent was once his greatest strength, then his greatest weakness, and now it seemed nonexistent. Benavidez finished the fight with a guillotine in the second round after picking apart Torres with strikes, GnP, and vicious elbows.
In fact, if Benavidez hadn't finished the fight with the guillotine the fight would've ended with a doctor stoppage in his favor.
With two losses in a row, it's easy to be skeptical of Torres' abilities in the first place. Some may even call him overrated. Overrated or not, Torres definitely needs to take a serious look at his career. Even his family is begging him to stop fighting, and that was before his fight with Benavidez. And Benavidez gave Torres quite an unpleasant cut.
Right now, several situations are possible for Torres. This could be just a lull in his career, and within a year or less he could be Bantamweight champion again. But it's hard to ignore how dominating his loss was against Benavidez.
He could pull the "Cro Cop." In other words, he could become a shadow of his former self, losing to anybody worth noting, while stringing together a few victories against mediocre competition here and there. It would be a shame if that happened, and that isn't easy for me to say, as I am a huge fan of Cro Cop.
He could pull the "Pulver." In other words, he could win once and then lose several fights in a row before retiring. This is the most unlikely scenario, as, despite his large number of fights, he is only 29 years old. Still, it is important to consider this possibility.
With his large cut, Torres will probably be sidelined for a while. This will give him a chance to reflect on his career so far, and with relentless hard work, which he is known for, he could make one of the best comebacks of 2010.
If he loses his next fight, however, it may be time to retire before he officially tarnishes his legacy.