Following injury and the novel coronavirus lockdown, UFC bantamweight Chris Gutierrez is extremely eager to fight as much as possible in the second half of his 2020.
Following a second round TKO of Vince Morales at UFC Fight Night in May, Gutierrez was quick to make himself available for a short turnaround fight soon after.
“Coming off the injury I had to make up for lost time, and that was the plan going into that (Morales) fight, and it’s the same plan going into this one,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “My focus is my opponent and going in and getting the job done.”
While Gutierrez’s fight game has always been a constant work in progress, he feels his life outside MMA has been just as impactful on his athletic career, and thus is also always in need of refinement.
“I’ve changed my mindset a lot here within the last couple months,” said Gutierrez. “Going through the custody battle, it’s been eight months since I’ve seen my son, and I’ve used that focus and used all that to put it into something good.
“I can sit back, cry about it, be upset, or I can use it as fuel to do something good, and that’s what I feel like I’ve been doing. I’ve been motivated. It’s lit a fire under my ass to keep going, honestly.”
On August 1 in Las Vegas, Nevada, Gutierrez (15-3-1) will look to pick up his fourth straight win when he faces Luke Sanders (13-3) in a preliminary 135-pound bout at UFC on ESPN+ 31.
“Plain and simple, I’m just going to put heavy pressure on him, make him commit, and the fight will go wherever it goes,” Gutierrez said of facing Sanders. “You have to be ready wherever the fight goes. I can’t say what exactly I’m going to do, that’s going to be a secret.”
As always, the main thing for Gutierrez in the remainder of his 2020 is to improve himself first, but there after comes his fight career, to which he’d like to return to the octagon at least one more time before year’s end.
“I try to be a better version of myself in every fight, but I try to be a better version of a man first,” said Gutierrez. “Before I’m a fighter, I’m a father, I’m a son, I’m a friend. Fighting isn’t everything that I am. It’s just a part of me. I’ve made adjustments to make me a better person, which has made me a better athlete.
“God willing everything goes well, I would like to get in two more before the end of the year, but if I get in one more after this one I’d be satisfied.”