Following four straight wins to start off his pro MMA career, bantamweight Mando Gutierrez hit his first roadblock with a loss to Mo Miller at LFA 90 last September.
Seeking to get himself back on track, Gutierrez went into his bout with William Elliott at LFA 106 on April 30 on a mission, and was able to rebound with a first-round submission victory.
“By no means was it the prettiest fight out there, but I went out there with one purpose and that was to go out there and get a W, and that’s exactly what I did,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “I had to battle through a little adversity, a little more than I would have liked, but I’m just glad I was able to weather the storm and show some improvements and get the job done.”
Gutierrez admits that he was carrying a bit more on his shoulders against Elliott because of the expectation to see if he could get back in the win column following his first defeat.
“This fight just had that little bit of added pressure, because I knew there was going to be those eyeballs waiting to see how I was going to bounce back from the first loss,” said Gutierrez. “I had to remind myself that I was doing it for me. This fight was all about me, my mentality, and my focus, everything like that.
“I feel like for the first time I was going out there and I was fighting for me because I wanted to come out with a win and get myself back on track. I take this very seriously. This is my passion. This is what I love to do. I wanted to make sure I wanted to get back on the winning track and back to where I need to be.”
Now in his third year as a pro fighter, Gutierrez feels like his mentality and determination are going to be a big part of his continued development over the coming year.
“The biggest thing is the mental jumps that I’ve had; getting battle-tested, that feeling of defeat for the first time; it does a lot to somebody mentally,” said Gutierrez. “It can either break you or let it build you up, and I chose the latter.
“I want to make sure that I bring a level of intensity that people can’t match. I want to make sure I keep that. The first time somebody matched my intensity I lost, so I want to make sure that is never a possibility again.”
Back on track, Gutierrez is looking to build a winning streak moving forward in 2021.
“I definitely want to have a quick turnaround, get back in there and keep the momentum going strong,” said Gutierrez. “I feel like I’m in a good place mentally and physically. I believe this is the best version of me that’s ever been.
“Hopefully I can string together a couple of big wins and hopefully get an LFA strap and punch my ticket to the big show.”