Last year, COVID-19 cut the football career of Torrez Finney short.
His career in a different arena is taking off in a large way.
This summer marks a year since he moved into another arena of competition, MMA, which stands for mixed martial arts.
The new path was forced in a way for Finney, a former back-to-back state wrestling champion at JCHS and all-state football selection. After an ACL tear during his football junior season at Chattanooga, his hopes of returning for a senior year were dashed by COVID-19.
“Since I wasn’t playing football, I found this gym here, and since I have gotten here, it’s been phenomenal, overall. It’s just been the perfect timing. I’m in great shape – these coaches harnessed my skills straight to MMA and since then, it’s been fun.”
Now with a 3-0 MMA record, Finney’s next fight is July 2 in Knoxville, Tenn. against TK Mattress in which the Valor Fighting Challenge will be putting Finney’s light heavyweight title on the line.
It’s a bout that Finney is eager for, especially given that the two were initially slated to fight last month in the heavyweight division. Mattress declined to fight in that weight class, according to Finney, opting instead for the 205-pound match in July’s event. It’ll be the final amateur match for Mattress, raising up the motivation on both sides of the ring.
“He said he wants to take my title and it’ll be his last amateur fight. This is a big fight for me and him both, but it’s bigger for me because I am still early in my career,” Finney said.
Finney’s opponent will be coming in with a 6-2 record.
“It’ll be a step up for me, my style is something he has never faced, I don’t think he has ever faced anybody like me,” Finney said. “Me personally, I know what my plan is and honestly, I don’t think it’ll be as close as people think it will be. We’ll see what happens. He is a great opponent; I give him 100 percent his respect.”
In any type of competition, being confident in a path to victory is important. It’s something that Finney has as he continues to train toward his next bout.
“If I can keep my style, if I keep that always (focus) on my opponent, I don’t think they can handle me, that’s a big thing for me when I fight,” Finney said. “I just don’t think his style matches up with me. He does have a brawling style; I will say that. Fighting is all about style matchups, it just depends on what you can do. Each opponent has their gameplans, but I try to insinuate that into my style.”
One thing that Finney has seen in MMA is something that goes all the way back to his time as a JCHS student-athlete – support from back home. In his recent matches, a contingent of supporters has driven to see him fight in person with others keeping up back home.
“Jones County, has some of the best support you can ever have. When Coach (Justin Rogers) was here, the way that the crowd would travel was phenomenal, you would have thought we were the home team on the road based on how well we traveled,” Finney said. “I had a pretty successful wrestling career there, and lot of those people still stick with me and that’s why every time I go back home, I have to stop by the school and see everyone.”
For more info on Finney’s next fight, visit FighterTix.com