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MMA:

Hispanic fighter aiming higher

Torres believes he can become first Mexican-born UFC champ

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Javier Torres, right, celebrates his second-round victory over Josh McBride at MMA Xplosion inside Planet Hollywood on March 20, 2009.

It’s pretty obvious that Javier Torres is representing more than just himself on fight nights.

If the 22-year-old mixed martial artist/boxer’s own Mariachi band accompanying him towards the ring doesn’t give away a Hispanic heritage he is most proud of — Torre’s signature clothing brand, “Mexican Fighter MMA,” certainly does.

“I love representing my people and culture to show everybody what Mexican power can do,” said Torres, who displayed some of his own strength last weekend by knocking out Josh McBride by in the second round of their bout at MMA Xplosion.

Mexican fight fans attending the event at Planet Hollywood responded with plenty of props for their man from Obson, Mexico.

“Javier is the only true Mexican fighter, we love and support him full-heartedly,” said one energetic fan, after the victory that pushed Torres’ MMA career to a perfect 5-0.

Torres has caught the attention of fighting enthusiasts outside his ethnic circle as well.

“I think he’s got tremendous potential,” said Jason Wallace, the director of marketing for MMA Xplosion. “He’s the kind of fighter we want to feature.”

The 185-pounder — who is also undefeated as an amateur boxer at 9-0 — said if he can just figure out what sport he wants to concentrate on, he believes his future is limitless.

“What I want is to get more experience in everything and be one of the best in the world, I like to think in the future,” said Torres, whose intense training regiment for both combat activities takes him all across Las Vegas.

Torres — who began boxing as an 8-year-old in Mexico, but started MMA only three years ago — splits his nine hours-a-day, six days-a-week schedule between sparring at LV Boxing, Muay Thai training at Excel Studio, Judo with the Rising Sun Judo Club and Jiu-Jitsu at Team Mica.

“I know I don’t get enough sleep, but I have to sacrifice to do well,” Torres said.

Torres’ main MMA coach Carlos Fletes, who runs Fletes Fight Club, said more importantly than his pupil’s non-stop training motor, is his infectious personality.

“Definitely his charisma, he shines when he’s out there,” said Fletes, who says it is a trait that places him in a different class than the countless number of other amateurs hoping to turn pro.

“MMA is part business, part entertainment, and he has the personality and charisma that a lot of people are looking for.”

Torres says he is aiming all the way to the top of the fight game and becoming the UFC’s first Mexican-born champ. Of course he admits to taking great pride in representing himself for his ever-expanding Hispanic audience, but Torres says there is an ever bigger prize on the line.

“All I do is for my family, mom and dad,” Torres said. “I don’t want to see them working anymore.”

Kringen is a UNLV undergraduate in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies. She can be reached at [email protected]

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