Following a successful 2021 campaign that saw him pick up back-to-back wins, bantamweight Mando Gutierrez was able to keep his momentum going in his first bout of 2022.
Facing Matthew Elliot at Total Warrior Combat in February, Gutierrez was able to weather an admittedly underwhelming performance to pick up a unanimous decision victory for his third win in a row.
“Obviously the win is nice, and getting your hand raised is the most important, but I don’t feel like I got to show anything,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “I don’t feel like I performed to the best of my abilities.
“I’d say it’s probably one of my worst performances. I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder coming into this fight. I’m getting ready to go out there and show the best version of me that’s ever been out there.”
One thing Gutierrez worked on to ensure he’s his best he can be in his upcoming bouts was to work on the mental aspect of his game see how that influences the rest of his development.
“I feel like I’m consistently getting better and better,” said Gutierrez. “I’m still relatively new to this game. I haven’t been doing this for so long.
“My mental approach has been very different this year. I’ve had a mental shift that has helped me unlock a new level of hard work and training that haven’t been able to step into before, so now I feel I’m more primed and ready to go than ever before.”
This Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada, Gutierrez (7-1) will look to add to his winning streak and perhaps punch his ticket to the next level when he faces Paul Rosas Jr. (5-0) in a 135-pound bout at Dana White’s Tuesday Night: Contender Series 9.
“He’s a savage and definitely deserves to be here,” Gutierrez said of Rosas. “But at the same time he’s got a tall task in fighting me.
“I think Raul poses a big threat on the ground. I feel I have just as much ground game as he does to bring to the table. I think it’s going to make for a great fight either way –whether on the ground or the feet – but I see myself as the better fighter all-around.”
Even though a win at the Contender Series could give Gutierrez his shot at the UFC, he’s going to approach his fight like he would any other in his career and let the chips fall where they may.
“I’ve been competing my whole life, so to me it’s just the next step in the process,” said Gutierrez. “When it comes to the fight game this is probably the slowest year I’ve ever had, so I’m just excited to get back out there.
“Granted this is the biggest stage of them all, and I’m ready to get out there and show the world what I’m capable of. I’m happy the opportunity is here (to potentially make) the next step in my career. I’m just ready to give it my all and show the world what I’ve got and keep moving forward and keep pushing.”