In a sport of constant evolution, there are times when we look back and revise the histories and legacies of fighters, turning import figures into mediocre combatants once success is replaced with failure.
Admittedly, the process is an extremely unfair one; seldom do people look back on a fighter's career and bestow new honors upon them. No one becomes a better striker, a better grappler or a more dominant champion.
Great fighters become good fighters, and good fighters become talentless bums.
After suffering his second-consecutive loss this weekend at WEC 47, Miguel Angel Torres might be the next former champion to become a revisionist history case study.
This is what happens when a fighter goes 37-1 in his first 38 fights, then drops two-in-a-row. People start asking if he was ever really that good to begin with. Who had he really beaten?
On August 8, 2009, Miguel Torres was universally considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and the undisputed best bantamweight in the sport.
The next night, he was knocked out by Brian Bowles, and the shine started wearing off a little. Bowles jumped Torres in all the rankings, joining the pound-for-pound discussion after just eight professional bouts, while the charismatic Torres was now the former Bantamweight champion.
But one loss isn't the end of the world; Georges St-Pierre suffered a similar fate against Matt Serra a few years earlier, and has since returned to dominate and become one of the greatest figthers the sport has to offer.
Miguel Torres was supposed to start his return last night.
While everyone knew Joseph Benavidez to be a dangerous opponent, no one expected to see the Team Alpha Male member dominate Torres the way he did.
The former champion's ten-inch reach advantage meant nothing, and his jiu jitsu game was nullified by a dominant top game from Benavidez, as well as a hail storm of elbows, including one that cut Torres to the skull.
Now, as he deals with the pain of an unexpected beating and a head full of stitches, Miguel Torres is also going to have to deal with a flood of question about his career, his accomplishments and where he goes from here.
Did Torres simply steamroll lesser competition en route to acclaim that wasn't truly merited?
Was he simply the best fighter of that pocket in time, and his time is now over?
Or is Miguel Angel Torres simply on a two-fight losing streak?
Let the debate begin.
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