Mando Gutierrez is one of the best amateur fighters to ever come out of Michigan. At Lights Out 5 on Sept. 7 in Grand Rapids, the former Lights Out Fights amateur champ begins his pro career. Before that, he spoke with FightBook MMA.
If you had to sum up your amateur career in one word, what would it be?
Are you taking the same approach to your professional career?
Honestly, I’m just doing me — having fun, trying to play my cards right and making it where I need to be.
Where is that?
The UFC. I want to be a household name and use my platform to represent the Mexican culture. I feel like the Mexican fighters who are in the UFC don’t really represent that to the best of their abilities, and I want to be that guy, you know? I look at Mexico in the sport of boxing, and Mexico stands up for boxers. The entire country just completely backs them, but the MMA fighters don’t get that same kind of love. I want to be that person who brings MMA to the limelight in Mexico and inspire people at the same time. I want to get all of Mexico to get behind me.
How long do you think that’s going to take?
Given the track that I’m on right now, I’m giving myself a few years. By the time I’m 25 years old, which is three years from now, I’ll be a household name in the UFC. I have the potential to go far fast. My whole life revolves around training and getting better, day in and day out, and I’ve got great people behind me.
How long have you been looking forward to this pro debut?
Before I even started fighting! I wanted to get right in there and get at it (laughs). My coach, Joaquin Murcielago, thankfully put me on the right path early on. He co-manages me with Rashad Evans; they’ve always taken care of me. Together we made a plan and all the pieces are falling into place.
Sitting Ringside Ep. #47