Coming off a successful year in the amateur ranks, featherweight Mando Gutierrez felt like 2019 was the time to turn pro.
For Gutierrez, making the decision to step into the pro ranks wasn’t just his, but a joint agreement amongst those in his team, ensuring now is truly the time to make the step up.
“It was just something that was talked about from the very beginning with all my coaches and teammates,” Gutierrez told MMAWeekly.com. “My teammates had one idea, my coaches had another, and I had another, so we all kind of just waited until we had a common consensus. I wanted to make sure that everyone thought it was the right time.
“Everything is just clicking right now. Things are making sense. Things are really starting come together. I figured now would be the best time to do it. My confidence is through the roof. My skills are improving every single day. I have a good system going. I feel I’ve got the perfect recipe at the moment.”
Having had seven fights in a year’s time as an amateur, Gutierrez wanted to use that time more so to know how to adequately prepare prior to stepping into the cage itself.
“I feel like I’ve been an elite athlete for a really long time with wrestling and such, so to me it wasn’t necessarily a cage thing, a fighting thing, it was more so building a process and building a routine outside the cage itself,” said Gutierrez.
“I just wanted to get a process of what it’s like to be (an MMA fighter); the preparation, the hype, the build-up, and wanted to make sure that I was settled in. I really figured out who I was as a fighter before I made that jump.”
On Saturday in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gutierrez (0-0) will make his pro debut against Mike Thompson (0-0) in a main card 145-pound bout at Lights Out Championship 5.
“If I go out there and I perform at my best, there is no one that can stop me, I really don’t think so,” Gutierrez said. “All I really know about Mike is that he’s kind of a brawler. He doesn’t pose any threats that I haven’t already seen. He doesn’t bring anything new to the table that I haven’t’ already seen.
“I think me at my best beats him at his best every single time, guaranteed. I’m not worried about him; I’m worried about me and going in there and performing everything that I’ve learned.”
Now that he’s made it to the pro ranks, Gutierrez is looking to close out 2019 as busy as he can to ensure he’s got momentum going for himself into 2020.
“I want to get in as many fights as possible all the time,” said Gutierrez. “I want to be able to finish the year 3-0 and hopefully be able to hit the ground running when 2020 hits. I’m hoping to have five fights next year and just keep racking up the wins.”