Boston, MA — Originally scheduled to face Cody Garbrandt at UFC 292 on Saturday, bantamweight Mario Bautista was left with a short-notice match-up against Da’Mon Blackshear instead — and he’s not sure he would take a replacement fighter if he were in a similar spot moving forward.
Bautista opened up about that, and fighting Blackshear, a large 135’er who had competed and won just a week ago, following their fight at the TD Garden on Saturday.
“If I were to fight Blackshear [again], I would definitely take my strength and conditioning a lot differently. But I went in there with a game plan to fight Cody, and I just used it the best I could to fight Blackshear,” Bautista (13-2) said of his approach to the fight, speaking to media outlets including Cageside Press.
As for how the fight played out, “it just took time to wear him down and then get going in the later half of the second and the third,” Bautista noted.
Ultimately, it was Mario Bautista coming away with the decision win on Saturday. He’s now looking at a December return, preferably against a ranked opponent.
“We’re going to be looking in December. Hopefully we keep the same opponent this time,” Bautista stated. “If not, I don’t know if I’ll take that risk again since we’re getting closer to the top 15 and top 10.”
It’s a rarely heard line from UFC fighters, who are somewhat accustomed to facing replacements on short notice. But like Stephen Thompson, who declined a fight with an overweight Michel Pereira recently, it appears to be about what’s best for Bautista’s career.
“When I have the number next to me, it’s going to be strategic getting to the top. If I have a number next to me and this happens, I probably won’t do it,” he stated.
As for the match-up with Garbrandt, a former UFC bantamweight champion, Bautista is ready to move on.
“I’m past Cody. Not unless he had a number next to his name, which he doesn’t. I’m moving past that.”
Watch the full UFC 292 post-fight press conference with Mario Bautista above.