Torres: I'm ready for Tapia

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It's been six months since World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight titleholder Miguel Torres last defended his belt, defeating Yoshiro Maeda at WEC 34 on June 1. In that time Torres has opened a new gym and purchased a new home. With those distractions out of the way, the top ranked 135-pound fighter in the world is ready to get back to fighting.

"They wanted me to fight sooner but I had just opened a new gym here in August, so I didn't want to mess around and have too much on my plate at one time," Torres told "After my last fight I wanted to take a couple of months and open my gym. I just bought a new house. There was a lot of things going on at the same time. I wanted to take care of a couple of my personal life issues and then get back to my fighting."

On Dec. 3, at WEC 37, Torres takes on undefeated Manny Tapia at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. And Torres isn't taking Tapia lightly.

"I'm not looking past Manny Tapia at all. Manny Tapia is a very dangerous fighter," said Torres. "He has knockout power in both hands. He has great grappler. He's a really good wrestler. He's earned his title shot, King of the Cage champ. I'm not looking past Manny Tapia at all."

Despite having an advantage on the ground over Tapia, Torres plans to display his striking skills against a guy nicknamed "The Mangler."

"When they told me I was fighting Manny for sure, I just put a face on an opponent. I knew I was fighting somebody, and that somebody, in my mind, I keep without a face until I get a name for them. Then I look at their style and I try to match up. I put a little more focus with Manny on stand up because I know he likes to bang," commented the 27-year-old fighter.

"I like to consider myself an artist. Martial arts is an art to me. It's a way I get to express myself. I've never done well with game plans. I try to stick to a game plan and fight someone with a certain style," continued the WEC champion. "I think with Manny, I'm going to go in and have fun and fight him on his feet. I think it's going to be a great opportunity for me to showcase my stand up. Manny hits hard. He likes to box. I'm going to go out there and showcase my stand up."

Although planning to strike with Tapia, Torres thinks the fight will inevitably get to the ground. "Eventually the fight will get to the floor," said the Illinoisan. "We'll get into a clinch. He'll shoot on me, or I'll jump guard, or however it's going to work. The fight will get to the ground and I'm sure when it gets there I'll get to show my Jiu-Jitsu off. But before that I'll get to showcase my stand up."

"I'm ready. I've been ready for a couple of weeks," added Torres. "I'm in top shape right now. My cardio is good. My stand up is good. My ground is solid. Now it's just a matter of waiting for my fight."