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Baller-Turned-MMA-Fighter Jomary Torres' Competitive Fire Burns

A victory at 'ONE: Conquest of Heroes' will make the 'Zamboanginian Fighter' a strong atomweight contender
by John Paulo Aguilera | Sep 21, 2018
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Imagine the irony of a young Jomary Torres watching mixed martial arts for the first time and finding it too violent for her own taste. On Saturday, the meek atomweight from Zamboanga will try to stay unbeaten against Priscilla Gaol at ONE: Conquest of Heroes in front of the latter's home crowd in Indonesia.

"Dati nanonood lang ako sa TV, 'Ay, nakakatakot pala yan,'" Torres shares during the media open workout at the Jakarta Muay Thai & MMA Camp. "Pero kapag nandiyan ka na pala sa cage, parang nawala na yung kaba mo. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, 'Ganito pala yung experience.'"

It would be an understatement to say she didn't take long to get used to the sport. After shocking Thailand hometown hero Rika Ishige via rear-naked choke submission last year, Torres followed it up with commanding wins over Indonesian Nita Dea (unanimous decision) and another Filipina April Osenia (slam and punches KO) to extend her undefeated streak to three.

Watch how the soft-spoken barrio lass transforms into a completely different person upon entering the cage:

To think that MMA wasn't Torres' original sport. Before she became the feisty fighter that she is now, the pride of Catalan Fighting System was actually into—wait for it—basketball.

Torres recalls, "Naglalaro ako tuwing may piyesta, sa eskwelahan namin, pati volleyball. Parang gusto ko ring maghanap ng ibang competition." It was when she stopped attending school (second year high school) and moved to Manila to seek employment that she was introduced to the career that would eventually change her life.

Torres admits that never in her wildest dreams did she think that she would be a mixed martial artist, and excel at her craft more so. She just tried it out for self-defense and instantly fell in love with the game and the competitive aspect. Which is why despite having an unblemished record, Torres is smart enough not to be complacent, especially against a dangerous opponent like Gaol.

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"Pinaghandaan talaga namin yung wrestling, grappling, submission, and striking. Kahit wala pa kong talo, focus lang para manalo at makuha yung goal namin, na umakyat para sa belt."

She may have done it before, pulling off a big upset on the road, but the "Zamboanginian Fighter" still gets anxious at the idea of being at odds with an entire country. On the other hand, she also thinks that it's the same as carrying the Philippine flag on foreign soil.

Torres reveals, "Nung nalaman ko na taga-Indonesia siya, parang natigilan ako na, "What?" Kasi sa harap ng mga kababayan niya eh, medyo napatanong din ako sa sarili ko. Bansa niya 'to, kaya mas maganda kung ipapanalo natin."

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ONE: Conquest of Heroes goes down on September 22 at the Jakarta Convention Center in Indonesia

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