Las Vegas, NV- Mando Gutierrez is one fight away from achieving the next step along his journey, but first, he has to go through a 17-year-old phenom- something he doesn’t mind at all.
Gutierrez (7-1) gets his shot for a UFC contract on week 9 of Dana White’s Contender Series and for the first time in his young MMA career, he will be the older fighter. He fights 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr., who has garnered all of the attention because he will be the youngest fighter to compete on the show and had to get special clearance in order to fight.
Even with all of the media attention, “El Toro” doesn’t think he is being overlooked.
“I mean, at the end of the day, this is the entertainment business. You know, people are looking for the next spectacle, but I feel like everyone knows he has his hands full,” Gutierrez told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview. “Everybody knows he has his hands full; there’s no [easy fight] about it… But when history is about to unfold, I’m excited to see it too. You know, I’m the same way. Like Kobe Bryant’s last game, I’m tuning in. I don’t even watch basketball, but I’m tuning in to watch history.”
Gutierrez earned his spot on DWCS by getting on a three-fight win streak. The Mexican fighter never thought he’d fight a 17-year-old, but it doesn’t matter because he’d fight anyone to get a chance for a UFC contract.
“This is this is borderline child abuse, but it’s okay,” Gutierrez joked. “I mean, I will fight anybody. I’ve said in interviews before that I’d fight my own grandma to get in the UFC. But now here we are, on the other end of the spectrum, I’m fighting a 17-year-old. Shit, I fight a 12-year-old if I had to.”
“I’m not all too worried about it. At the end of the day, we’re gonna do what we got to do. So, no matter who’s in front of me, all I know is that it’ll be really easy for people to overlook the fact that he’s just 17 years old. But that’s not all there is to him, you know, he is tough, he does have a lot of skills. So I’m just, I’m expecting a killer fight. Regardless, I gotta go out there. His age isn’t going to win or lose the fight for him; he’s going to do that. So at the end of the day, I gotta go out there and have all my ducks in a row because I’m gonna go out there and put on a show. I’m coming out to make a statement. And that’s that.”
Watch the rest of our interview with Mando Gutierrez above. He fights Raul Rosas Jr. on Dana White’s Contender Series, exclusively on ESPN+, September 20th.