When I first started fighting, the primary aim was to make money and pay for my college. I also wanted to make my father and family proud of me. By 2012, the aims have shifted somewhat, as I am established in the sport, have won a world title and now have my little daughter to fight for. Every fight I win, and every bonus check I pick up, goes towards her future. I don't want her to have anything to worry about as she grows older and, right now, that is my main aim in my career.
I also have 100 percent confidence in my ability to win the UFC world title. If I didn't think I could win that title, I'd be fighting somewhere else or not at all. I was born to be a champion, I know I can still be a champion, and it's just a matter of time before I make a run at that belt. There's no great secret to getting there, either, and I am no stranger to long unbeaten runs. If I can just piece together a decent winning streak against decent guys, I'm very confident a title shot will quickly come my way.
That's what I'm gunning for right now, starting with this next fight against Michael McDonald on April 21st at UFC 145. Once I beat McDonald, I will have back-to-back wins to my name and will have won three of my first four UFC bouts. If you combine that with what I achieved in the WEC, it's not bad going and is something like the kind of form I will look to build on and improve on in the coming months.
Let's face it, the UFC bantamweight division is a great place to be right now if you're a mixed martial artist. Not only do we have a ton of top fighters competing at 135 pounds, but the division's top two, Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, are currently head coaches on The Ultimate Fighter Live. This season marks the first time two bantamweights have led the teams, and I'm pleased for the two of them. They're doing a great job from what I've seen so far, and this increased attention on the bantamweight division, and their world title fight, can only be good news for everybody else at 135 pounds.
Having competed in the lower weight classes for years, I know how difficult it can be to make that crossover and become a genuine star in the sport. The WEC was a Godsend for me, as they gave me a place to perform and really helped boost my profile, despite the fact I was competing in one of the lighter weight divisions. Because of the great work of the WEC, the current UFC bantamweight division now boasts Cruz, Faber and me as genuine big-name fighters, the kind that can head up the division and help sell pay-per-view events. There are also one or two others that will soon be big stars in the sport, and platforms like The Ultimate Fighter will only further enhance the reputation of the bantamweights.
I think Cruz, the champion, is slick and has some good moves, and is a very worthy No. 1 in the division. He has the recipe to beat the shorter wrestler, and has used that recipe to dominate all of the challengers he has come up against so far. I give him immense credit for what he has done. Dominick is solid on the ground and is also a great striker. However, despite his tremendous movement and activity rate, he doesn't have many knockouts on his record and rarely finishes fights. He may well hit hard, but his record doesn't suggest that at this moment in time.
I truly believe my kind of style will cause Cruz nightmares, as I will stand in front of him, use all my experience and stand and throw from beginning to end. I'm the type of guy that will take a punch to give a punch. Then, if he decides to shoot in for a takedown, I know I will cause him plenty of problems on the ground, too. He knows this as well.
Cruz is the guy we're all looking to one day fight, and it would be a shame if the two of us went our whole careers without fighting each other. Even though my sights are set on Michael McDonald for the next few weeks, I still like the sound of Cruz and a UFC title shot somewhere down the line.
Bantamweight star Miguel Torres fights Michael McDonald on Sat., April 21st at UFC 145. UFC 145 is live on pay-per-view.