Pasar al contenido principal
Athletes

Chris Gutierrez Found His Turning Point

Bantamweight Chris Gutierrez Wants To Take Advantage Of Every Opportunity He Can Ahead Of UFC Fight Night: Song vs Gutierrez

Chris Gutierrez is an honest man. So when asked if he was happy that his Saturday main event against Song Yadong was moved from Shanghai to Las Vegas, he could not tell a lie.

“I think we all are,” he laughed. “Let's be honest.”

Order UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington

The bantamweight contender admits that fighting in Asia for the first time would have been “a very beautiful experience,” but while he kept that outlook during an abbreviated training camp, he also knew that avoiding a 20-hour trip while cutting weight in a new country was ultimately a good thing.

Please enable Javascript to view this content

And here he is. In Vegas, a few hours away from his home in Colorado, and about to compete in his first UFC main event, one he had no idea was happening until Song needed an opponent after a fight with former bantamweight champion Petr Yan didn’t materialize. Enter “El Guapo,” who was coming off an October victory over Alatengheili and more than willing to step up for a big fight before the end of the year.   

Saturday's Full Fight Card Preview

“I've let so many opportunities slip by me just never giving myself the full benefit of the doubt,” he said. “It was me not trusting in myself, me not believing in myself. This happened when (teammate) Jonathan (Martinez) was fighting Thomas Almeida (in October 2020). I wasn't in the right mental space, and I said no to the fight and Jonathan went out there and got the job done and was able to catapult his career. He believed in himself, and I didn't have that at that time. And when this fight got offered to me, I was in the same situation and I was like, you know what, I'm ready now. Mentally. I've been through it all. I've been there, I've seen it, I felt it. At this point, it's about taking opportunities and I feel like this is an opportunity. I'm number 15 fighting number seven. What do I have to lose? Nothing.”

That feeling of freedom is notable in Gutierrez’ voice, and at 32, with 11 UFC fights under his belt, he appears to have figured out life at the top. That’s easier said than done, because while competing against the best in the world night in and night out is every fighter’s goal, actually doing it can come with twists and turns that aren’t always expected. In response, Gutierrez turned to a comforting source. 

Chris Gutierrez Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Song vs Gutierrez
fight pass logo
Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

This video is not available in your country

There was a problem while loading content. Please try again.

Chris Gutierrez Fight Week Interview | UFC Fight Night: Song vs Gutierrez
/

“I've really been diving into my faith, and I honestly know that's been a turning point in my life,” he said. “I had to immerse myself in my craft and I had to let go of all the chaos that was happening in my life and remove myself from that. Of course, there's certain things that I had no control over, so those things, I just leave it up to God, and I try to control the things that I can control.”

So what was the turning point? 

RELATED: Song vs Gutierrez Main Event Breakdown

“To be honest, I just got tired of looking in the mirror and saying, ‘Man, I let so many opportunities and so many things walk right by me,’” Gutierrez said. “And when I look in the mirror, I almost see that little kid in me that I wish I had the knowledge and the tools that I have now. I wish I could have given that kid a better shot, but here I am, 32 years old, and I want to give that little kid inside me every opportunity from this point on. I made a promise to myself that if this thing was going to crash and burn, I was going to be the one in the front seat and not have someone dictate my life for me.”

Chris Gutierrez reacts after his victory against Alatengheili of China in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Chris Gutierrez reacts after his victory against Alatengheili of China in a bantamweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 14, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

That makes a dangerous fighter even more dangerous, and those aren’t just words from Gutierrez. The proof is in the reality that he’s stepping in with a top bantamweight contender less than two months after going three rounds in his last bout, and while he knows what he’s in for this weekend, he’s more confident than ever that he’s got a handle on beating his biggest foe to date.

FREE FIGHTS: Song vs Simon | Gutierrez vs Alatengheili

“You obviously have to give respect to your opponent because he's the one getting in there with you,” he said. “And he brings a skillset that we need to prepare for adequately. But other than that, the opponent has never really been anyone else. The biggest battle has been me versus me. And I'm in a better spot now. I still struggle, but I just try to live it one day at a time and put one foot in front of the other. That's the best way I can explain it. Yes, Song is a young, hungry fighter, but I am, too. I'm here to stay. I'm here to show who I am to the world, but most importantly, I'm here to show to myself how far I can go.”

Order UFC 296: Edwards vs Covington

UFC Fight Night: Song vs Gutierrez took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas on December 9, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!