Mando Gutierrez is back in the win column after suffering the most significant loss of his young career.
“El Toro” did not want to sit in his feelings long at all when he suffered the biggest of his career. Three weeks after losing on Dana White’s Contender Series, Gutierrez picked up a first-round TKO over Tim Eschtruth at WXC 88: Flint Vehicle City.
25 days after losing on DWCS to Raul Rosas Jr., Mando Gutierrez got back into the win column tonight via TKO at WXC 88 pic.twitter.com/RBj9MmUORQ
— Alex Behunin (@AlexBehunin) October 16, 2022
While he didn’t celebrate too much, Gutierrez is very happy to be back in the win column.
“I mean, it felt great. Honestly, I didn’t really let myself live it up too much. I didn’t let myself enjoy it because I felt like I needed this win just to feel normal,” Gutierrez told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview. “It was great to go out there and put on a good performance against a tough opponent. I don’t like taking any bounce-back fights. Like, picture me going out there and fighting some bum to make myself feel better- that’s not what I do; it won’t make me feel any better.”
“So, I wanted to go out there and take on a tough opponent, and this fight kind of just fell right in my lap. I went out there and did what I had to do, so it was nice, but I didn’t let myself be too hyperbolic because I know at the end of the day, I should have gone out there and performed that same way a few weeks ago, and I couldn’t do that.”
Gutierrez had a shot at a UFC contract on September 20 against then-17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. but came up short, losing a unanimous decision and his UFC contract. Going into the fight, Gutierrez was ultra-confident that he would defeat Rosas Jr. and make it look easy.
Ultimately, Gutierrez didn’t feel like himself during the biggest fight of his career. He revealed that he was a little too calm, which led to his downfall.
“For the first time in my entire athletic career and my combat sports career, I overshot it. I tried to be too calm. I knew that the moment was going to be massive, so I wanted to be calm. I didn’t want to be in over my head,” Gutierrez said. “So, I just focused on being calm and ready, but then it came around to fight day, and I still didn’t have those jitters. Later in the warm-up room and I still don’t have those jitters, and then I’m in the tunnel, and I’m still cold and still too calm.
“I think I just expected by the time the referee asked if I was ready, everything was just going to magically turn on, but it didn’t for the first time in my career. I felt like I was fighting in the third person; almost like my body wasn’t awake yet. I was seeing everything, and I felt like I could have done all the right things, but my body just wasn’t responding the way I wanted it to. I just physically was not there, and that was a big issue for me.”
“I started off on the wrong foot and I was playing catch up the rest of the fight.”
While the Michigan fighter was very disappointed in his performance on DWCS, he wants to make it clear he didn’t overlook the Rosas Jr.
“I absolutely did not overlook that kid. At this level, you can’t really overlook anybody. Everybody deserves that respect, and everybody’s here for a reason. I didn’t overlook him once. I knew I had my hands full. Yes, I was very confident, but that’s just me. I know that when I’m at my best, I can beat anyone. I wanted to go out there and put on the best performance of my life, and that’s what I was prepared to do, but it’s just a couple of little mistakes that led me down the wrong path. It ultimately caused me to have a really bad performance, and that’s all it really was. It is a game of inches, and you got to come correct, especially at this level,” Gutierrez said.
The 25-year-old wants one more fight to end his 2022 and then get back to work early in 2023 to earn his spot in the UFC.
“If it was up to me, I’d take two more this year, man,” Gutierrez said. “You know what they say? If you take a loss, that’s three wins. That’s three wins just to make up for that loss. So, that’s exactly what I want to do. I wanted to get those mother f*ckers in before the year. Like I said a million times, I compete because I love to compete. And there’s no time better to compete than when your backs against the wall. That’s my favorite time. I love that sh*t. I’m more motivated than ever. If you think I’m done because of this little setback, just watch.”