In 2017, Tecia Torres obtained engaged, earned her grasp’s diploma in Criminology, and scored the primary end of her MMA profession, one in all three consecutive wins final 12 months that propelled her right into a co-main occasion towards fellow strawweight contender Jessica Andrade this weekend.

In brief, it should be good to be “The Tiny Twister” nowadays.

“Life’s fairly good proper now,” she stated. “It’s treating me effectively, my onerous work’s paying off and good issues are coming to me.”

That’s low-key and targeted Tecia Torres proper there, specializing in what’s forward and never what occurred yesterday. However there was a time when she questioned if MMA was going to be a profession; if all of the blood, sweat and tears had been going to repay like they’re now.

“In all probability earlier than I obtained to the UFC, once I was in Invicta,” she stated. “It was actually onerous and difficult. I used to be nonetheless working a full-time job and attempting to stability common life with making just a little cash. That was fairly unmotivating, however as soon as the UFC opened the door for us, I knew there could be alternatives to make a profession out of it.”

4 wins in Invicta FC, together with a trio of victories over Paige VanZant, Felice Herrig and future UFC champion Rose Namajunas, established Torres as a fighter to observe, however after her stint on The Final Fighter 20, she grew to become a contender. Right this moment, she’s 6-1 within the Octagon, ranked fifth on the planet, and the winner of Saturday’s bout is predicted to be subsequent in line for a crack on the 115-pound title.

“That’s what I suppose,” stated Torres of a title shot being the results of a win in Orlando. “I haven’t heard something from the UFC, however I can’t see there being anyone else deserving of it exterior of us.”

She’s proper, as Torres could have received 4 in a row, and if Namajunas retains her title in her April rematch with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, there’s a pure storyline there with the strawweight stars having cut up their first two bouts. However first issues first, and for Torres, that’s Brazil’s Andrade, who’s coming off a formidable victory over Claudia Gadelha.

“Jessica is a really powerful opponent, fairly presumably my hardest opponent but,” stated Torres. “She has an analogous physique construction to me when it comes to top, and we’re each fairly stocky when it comes to muscle. However she likes to be a bully just a little bit and are available in together with her fingers just a little bit wild. I feel I’m extra technical than her, I consider I’ve velocity on her, and strength-wise I’d say we’re fairly equal. I feel we’re each nice wherever the combat goes, so it’s going to be fascinating to see the way it performs out. I’m a special opponent for her simply when it comes to my motion. It undoubtedly catches individuals off guard, so I’m gonna use that to my benefit.”

One other trick Torres has up her sleeve is her toughness. It’s not one thing that’s first on her record of attributes relating to the general public, however she’s undoubtedly confirmed her grit over time.

“I’m a troublesome chick and I’ve been in there with the very best of the very best, typically much more than as soon as,” she stated. “Folks have their opinions, and I’m not an excessive amount of within the limelight like among the ladies within the division, however I undoubtedly consider I’m prime 5 for a motive and I’ve been prime 5 since I’ve been within the UFC for a motive. It’s my time to make a much bigger assertion and I feel with every combat I’m getting nearer and nearer.”

A championship belt round her waist wouldn’t be a nasty assertion to make, and if her fiancé, bantamweight contender Raquel Pennington, will get a title shot someday this 12 months after which will get her fingers on a belt this 12 months as effectively, now that will be some story.

“We actually don’t go an excessive amount of into that, however I’m certain that’s undoubtedly behind our minds,” Torres stated. “We’re each simply so near title rivalry and preventing for the title, however we don’t attempt to look too forward. We simply take a look at our subsequent opponent. I’m certain coming off this combat with Andrade, ought to I come out the victor, which I plan to do, they’ll be extra talks of that.”

Speak away. “The Tiny Twister” is prepared for all of it.

“My focus is unquestionably on Andrade, however in my head, my dream and my fairytale is to make it a actuality and develop into the champion of the world,” she stated. “I undoubtedly wish to be in that primary spot, so it’s not exterior of my ideas, but it surely’s not my precedence. My precedence is Jessica.”

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