Following his first round submission win over William Elliott at LFA 106 to kick off his year this past April, bantamweight Mando Gutierrez was eager to keep his momentum going, when his next fight was cancelled just a day before it happened.
Scheduled to fight Bryan Bautista at LFA 115 in September, Gutierrez was left unable to compete because his opponent was unable to make weight, putting his momentum on hold for a short while.
“To me it was pretty brutal,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “It didn’t feel real that first day. It ended up hitting me when I got home and I was watching the fights from my house instead. It’s kind of demoralizing.
“But I had to look at the bright side and realize I’m 12 fights deep in my (combined amateur and pro) career and this is the first time it’s happened to me. I have to take it in stride and use that camp to keep bettering myself and carry that into my next one. So for this next fight I’m two camps deep (as I see it).”
Though he hasn’t had a fight in eight months, Gutierrez is confident he’s improved this year because he looks at his progress in training rather than his performances in fights to determine his growth.
“I life this life day to day; I don’t train for a fight, I train to get better, so every single day I’m making adjustments and get better,” said Gutierrez. “From day one my coach’s philosophy has been you get better in the gym, you don’t get better in the cage.
“I think this last fight camp has been the most successes I’ve ever made and the biggest jump that I’ve ever noticed in my career so far. I’m excited to go out there and showcase these new skills and show people how this new bag of tricks is.”
This Friday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gutierrez (5-1) will look to pick up his second win in a row when he takes on Chaka Worthy (4-4) in a 135-pound main card bout at XFC: Young Guns 4.
“I know Chaka’s a gamer and takes any fight no matter how tough,” Gutierrez said. “He fights absolutely anybody. He’s not scared. He’s going to be one of those guys who is going to be right in front of me. He’s game. He’s durable. He’s tough. So I’m going to really have to put things together and string things together to get him out of there.
“For me the goal is always the same: get him up out of there early and make it a quick night, get paid, go home and spend some time with my family. I know he can’t hang with what I bring to the table, so I’m going to go out there and just showcase the best version of myself and drown him.”
Before he can start thinking about where his career will head in 2022, Gutierrez has to get past Worthy on Friday night first. When 2022 comes around he’ll begin thinking about it, but until then closing out this year is the biggest thing on Gutierrez’s mind.
“I know I’ve got this fight to take care of,” said Gutierrez. “I’m definitely just preparing for this one here.
“Anyone who knows me knows I live this life day to day no matter what. I’m going to keep doing what I’ve always done: keep going to the gym, keep training, keep getting better, and be ready for whatever’s next.”