From nanny to fighter: Jomary Torres' unusual MMA journey
MANILA, Philippines — An athlete's path to a sport is usually marked by an early introduction to the craft, with some even going as far as picking their specialization as children.
But for ONE Championship athlete Jomary Torres, mixed martial arts didn't come into her life until she was 19.
Born to a family of farmers in Zamboanga del Norte, Torres did not have an easy childhood.
"Dati noon sa probinsya ako. [Ang] hirap ng buhay, kailangan magtanim ng palay at kamote para may makain. Kahit sa school need maglakad nang malayo para makapag-aral (Before, I was in the province. Life was hard. We needed to plant rice and sweet potato in order to eat. Even in school, I needed to walk a long distance to get to study)," Torres told Philstar.com through ONE Championship.
Eventually, Torres moved to Manila for more opportunites to work as a nanny, eventually meeting Philippine MMA veteran Rene Catalan.
"I met Coach Rene in person and he offered me to be in charge of reception [in his gym] para makapag train ako ng martial arts (I met Coach Rene in person and he offered me to be in charge of reception in his gym, so I could train in martial arts)," Torres narrated.
It didn't take long before the Zamboanga native was given the chance to prove herself in the cage.
After only three weeks of training, Catalan put Torres in her first MMA fight in URCC where she won her bout via unanimous decision.
This debut gave her the chance to sign to an even bigger promotion in ONE Chamionship. Torres attributed her big leap to Catalan's mentorhsip.
"Ang laking tulong ng advice ni Coach Rene at ng team para makapasok ako sa ONE Championship... Unti-unti ko nang naabot pangarap ko na makakatulong sa lola ko at sa iba pang mahihirap na athlete na kagaya ko (Coach Rene's advice was a big help for me to get into ONE Championship... I'm slowly reaching my dreams to be able to help my lola and other poor athletes like myself)," Torres said.
The Catalan System fighter hopes to reach the top in her mixed martial arts career, citing ONE women's atomweight world champion Angela Lee as her goal.
"[I want] to be like Angela Lee," Torres said.
Torres now holds a 4-4 record with ONE Championship, currently struggling with a losing streak.
But being no stranger to adversity, Torres does not lack the characteristics to power through the challenges.