A post shared by Tecia Torres (@teciatorres) on Jul 22, 2018 at 9:57am PDT
Some fighters migrate to the biggest, most established gyms in the sport, leaving their original base of operations and smaller crew of coaches and training partners to work alongside 30, 40, 50 like-minded individuals on a daily basis, receiving direction in a larger class setting.
Others move in the opposite direction, breaking from the big squads to find a more intimate setup, where training partners are limited, but the instruction is individual. Where some athletes don’t want to be the big fish in a little pond, others don’t mind sharing a cool, quiet place with one or two similarly sized fish.
Tecia Torres has experienced both, beginning her professional career training at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida before relocating to Colorado Springs, Colorado to train alongside her fiancée, bantamweight title challenger Raquel Pennington, at a gym that offers more personalized attention.
On today's #UFCMinute, @TeciaTorres discusses how she's been preparing for her #UFCCalgary battle with top women's strawweight @Joannamma, including the advice she received from current strawweight champ @RoseNamajunas. pic.twitter.com/btfS0G7lbF
— UFC News (@UFCNews) July 25, 2018
“When I moved to Colorado, the difference was in going from a gym where it was obviously very big and lots of fighters to basically me and Raquel and our coaches training one-on-one,” said Torres, who squares off with former strawweight champion – and American Top Team representative – Joanna Jedrzejczyk on the main card of the UFC’s return to FOX this weekend in Calgary. “It went from a wrestling class Mondays with 40 or 50 fighters to a wrestling session with just me and my coach or another teammate or me and Raquel.
“There’s a big difference there in the teammate aspect, but having the one-on-one training, I really feel it has helped me evolve my game as a fighter and as a person because at ATT, unfortunately we didn’t get as much one-on-one time, whereas now, I have five – six with Raquel – coaches who are there for me. I feel like that’s a game changer.”
And it’s not like Torres and Pennington don’t have other resources available to them as they prepare to step into the Octagon.
While Colorado Springs may not be home to as much high-level UFC talent as some of the more famous fighting outposts, heading north on the I-25 can have you in Denver in a little more than an hour, and venturing to “The Mile High City” provides an opportunity to get work in with a couple other members of the UFC roster, including one who is acutely aware of what it’s like to share the cage with Jedrzejczyk and how to beat her.
“Raquel has always trained with JJ Aldrich and Rose Namajunas because when you live in Springs, there aren’t that many people who fight, so if you live in Springs, you train with people in Denver,” explained Torres. “Me coming into the mix, we would train with the girls in Denver and if somebody had a fight, either Pat (Barry) or Tony (Basile) would set it up where all the girls would try to get together on Friday or Saturday and try to do a session, either sparring or wrestling or jiu-jitsu.
“I trained with Rose prior (to this fight), but now people are seeing it more because I’m fighting Joanna and they’re making a big deal out of it,” she added with a laugh. “This fight camp though, Tony and Pat did help me a lot more than they did previously. They took me a little under their wing and provided me with some different things that they hadn’t previously and I’m grateful for that.
“Obviously, Rose has gone in there and fought Joanna twice and was able to get the job done, so I know they know what needs to be done, so my coaches were open to them giving suggestions or helping me because at the end of the day, they all want me to win.”
Last time out, Torres didn’t come away with a victory, as former title challenger Jessica Andrade snapped her three-fight winning streak by wrestling away the final two rounds of their three-round encounter.
While the 28-year-old “Tiny Tornado” has offered no objections to the outcome, acknowledging the Brazilian got the better of things over the last 10 minutes to earn the victory, she’s also quick to recognize that she didn’t perform like herself in February and has no intention of making the same mistake or the mistakes other fighters have made when fighting Jedrzejczyk when they meet this weekend in Calgary.
“(I really just need to remember to) be myself and fight the way I know how to fight,” said Torres. “I didn’t fight like myself when I fought Andrade. I went in there thinking things I shouldn’t have.
“Joanna and Andrade are two way different fighters, so the fight that I had planned for Andrade is not the fight that I have planned for Joanna, (but) I just have to go in there and fight the entire 15 minutes or however long the fight goes and never stop hitting her, never stop moving.
“The key to winning this fight is going to be speed and movement and not backing down to her. That’s what these girls do – they back down to her and I’m going in there to fight her.
“We’re going to fight. It’s going to be a fight.”