Since turning pro in September of 2019, bantamweight Mando Gutierrez has been more calculated with his career than some other fighters might. For Gutierrez, rather than take random opportunities, every fight has been chosen to allow him to take incremental steps up in his career.
When it comes to how he fights, Gutierrez’s efficiency has also shown through, by spending less than six total minutes in the cage during his three wins so far.
“I haven’t had any crazy level of competition yet, but that’s just because at the end of the day I only threw my first punch three years ago,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “We’re working our way up to the big show and just upping the ante a little bit every single time.
“My first few fights I’ve gotten them done relatively quickly. I’m a fast starter, and I’m really starting to find my groove as who I am as a fighter. Everything has been moving good; little by little just taking tougher opponents and trying to make the right moves to be where we want to be.”
While the novel coronavirus put his career temporarily on hold, Gutierrez used the time off as best he could and continued to develop his game.
“Honestly I felt like if just stayed busy that good things would happen,” said Gutierrez. “Good things happen to those who work. I just stay working and stay busy. It took a little wind out of my sails when my fight (scheduled for April) got cancelled a week beforehand, so it was tough, but I got right back in there. I couldn’t let that be my downfall so I just kept working.
“I was always training like I was a top level pro. I was training hard. The proof is in the pudding. When you put the work in, good things happen, and this is the next step. A year later into my pro career we’re taking a tougher opponent, bigger record, bigger venue, bigger everything, and I feel like I’m ready for it.”
On Friday, July 24, in Sioux Falls, S.D., Gutierrez (3-0) will make his promotional debut at LFA 86, when he takes on Jeff Jepsen (5-2) in a main card 135-pound bout.
“He’s a little more experienced than I am, but as humbly as I can say it I think I’m better than him absolutely everywhere,” Gutierrez said of Jepsen. “If I show up at 100 percent — which I absolutely will – he has absolutely no answer for me.
“I feel like when I put together my best 15 minutes I can beat anybody. That’s just the way I see it and have always seen it throughout my career. I know he’s tough, he’s a durable kid, and I’m ready for 15 minutes, but I’m looking to get in and get out of there as fast as possible.”
Now that he’s on a bigger stage, Gutierrez is looking to make the most of the situation and close out 2020 a bit busier than he has been over the last year.
“I’m just lucky I have a really good management team that’s been helping me out a lot throughout all of this, so as long as I stay training and stay busy, whatever opportunity that comes my way I’m going to jump on it,” said Gutierrez.
“God willing, hopefully, I’ll be able to squeeze in a good two, three, maybe four fights before the end of the year. I want to stay as busy as I can.”