Mando Gutierrez has established himself as a prospect to watch in his native Michigan. On April 27, the fast-rising fighter will try to improve to 7-0, and win the Lights Out Championship amateur featherweight title, when he meets Alim Muhammad (5-1) at Lights Out 3 in Grand Rapids, Mich. But before he steps in the cage, he sat down and talked to FightBook MMA.
Is this the biggest fight of your career so far?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the biggest fight of my career, but there’s the most going into it, and this is going to be the biggest challenge. There’s more to this fight than any other, for sure.
Do you know much about your opponent?
I know he used to wrestle out here in Michigan, but he likes to keep it standing. He’s well-rounded everywhere. He’s a good dude. He’s been respectful. We’ve talked a bit, and it seems like he’s bringing his best version of himself to this fight and so am I. Let’s see who the better man is.
Do you usually talk to your opponents before you fight?
(Laughs) Typically I don’t, but he’s a nice, respectful dude. When he called me out, he did it as politely as he possibly could. We talked for a little bit andhe seems like a good dude.
How much longer do you think we’ll see you as an amateur?
I’m not one to put a date on it; it’s all up to my coach and my team. If they feel like we can make that move after this fight, that’s what we’ll do. If they feel like I need more experience, that’s what we’ll do. I’m in no rush. I’m using every fight as experience and trying to solve every puzzle as they come — every fight to me is a puzzle.
What should the fans expect April 27 in Grand Rapids?
The fans should expect the most well-rounded version of myself up until this point. I’ve been working incredibly hard for this fight, working hard to sharpen my tools every day. I’ve got a very tough opponent. This puzzle is going to have a few more pieces than the rest, but that’s just going to make it that much more rewarding when I figure him out. I don’t see myself losing anywhere in this fight. I train way too hard to lose. I’m going to push the pace, be hard-nosed as I always am, and just make it happen.