Phoenix, AZ – UFC flyweight Tracy Cortez made the most of fighting in her hometown on Saturday night at UFC 274 where she defeated Melissa Gatto via unanimous decision.
Being able to fight and win in front of your friends and family is a dream of many fighters, but for Cortez it was more than just a fight.
“This was definitely a dream come true and something that I could check off my dream and goals. I have plenty more to hit. The fact that I’m here fighting in front of my hometown is a dream come true,” Cortez told reporters in her post-fight scrum.
Cortez and Gatto went the full 15 minutes and while Tracy was able to control where the fight went she was put into a couple of tough spots. At one point Gatto went for a leg lock which was something that Cortez had actually trained for, but didn’t really mean to in camp.
“That was the first time I’ve been put in that position. Weirdly enough we had worked on it. I don’t know why we worked on it. I was like, ‘No she doesn’t really throw it that often you know’. For some reason somehow I got caught in sparring and they said, ‘Hey let’s work on this for a little bit.’ I had my coach Santino and Brian (Ortega) help me out a little bit. Yeah it’s crazy how things worked out,” Cortez said.
During the bout Gatto showed some success on the feet against Cortez. Eventually Gatto did shoot in for a takedown which surprised not only the broadcast team, but Cortez.
“Well my coaches were telling me they were like, ‘Hey you’re doing good. If you want to keep it standing, keep it standing. Whenever you’re comfortable go for it. You see the punches. I’m good with my distance. So when she did go for the takedown that’s when it caught me off guard. I was like on the cage like, alright this is my comfort zone, let’s go,” said Cortez.
Now with the fight done and having taken seemingly no damage, a quick turnaround is possible for the young flyweight.
“I would love a quick turnaround. I would love to get back in the cage. I’m healthy, I’m not hurt. I have no bruises. Got a couple, my knees are a little scraped up from the canvas, but other than that I’m good,” Cortez said.
After the fight Cortez gave an inspiring speech to the crowd, many whom came from the same places she came from, and the crowd gave her the love she gave them in that moment. The feelings Cortez felt in that moment are the memories she will take for the rest of her career.
“Orgullosa, man. I’m proud. It makes me proud to be from here. There’s not a lot of names that, or a lot of people that just try to represent here from Phoenix, Arizona. Hopefully I start that wave. You see a lot of people from California representing LA such like Brian. You know, they’re proud to be from California. You don’t get that a lot here from people from Phoenix,” Cortez said.
“Hopefully I can put Arizona on the map.”
Watch the full UFC 274 post-fight press conference appearance by Tracy Cortez above. More coverage from the event can be found below.