Chris Gutierrez may not be from Uruguay, but he believes he’ll feel right at home nonetheless at UFC on ESPN+ 14.
Gutierrez was born in New Jersey, raised in Greenville, TX and is fighting out of Factory X in Englewood, CO. However, he will be flying the Guatemalan flag on fight week. His mother was born in Guatemala, and his father Colombia. Thus, he believes he’ll feel no discomfort when he fights Brazilian Geraldo de Freitas in a bantamweight match when the Octagon touches down in Uruguay.
“I consider South America and Central America to be my backyard,” Gutierrez told MMASucka. “I have two nationalities that I’ll be going to war with. They’ll be backing me, the whole country of Colombia and the whole country of Guatemala. I feel very confident and very good being able to represent my parents’ countries.”
Gutierrez has visited both Colombia and Guatemala twice each, but he was young the last time he went to either. After his next fight, he intends to visit family in Guatemala. There, he’ll hold a seminar to inspire both children and adults based on hardships he experienced in his own childhood.
“We were poor growing up,” Gutierrez said. “At times, you have people telling us that some of the dreams that we had were just not feasible. That we were daydreaming, and that’s all it was ever going to be. I’m a testament to the idea that you can grow up poor and get a second chance in life.
“Especially with kids coming from third world countries like my mom. When I used to go [to Guatemala], I never took things for granted when I came back. They didn’t even have running water.”
Gutierrez aims to motivate people of all ages that they could be anything they want as long as they keep working towards it, no matter how difficult it may seem.
“El Guapo” himself reached the UFC back in November 2018. He holds a 13-3-1 overall professional record and is 1-1 in the UFC.
He’ll look to make it two straight with a win over de Freitas (12-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC). Gutierrez was quick to point out that his opponent comes from well-known Brazilian gym Nova União, but nevertheless feels it’s a good stylistic match-up for him.
“I’ve never been one to predict anything, but I know I’m going to get the finish,” he said. “Whether it’s a submission, knockout or TKO, I don’t foresee this one going to the judges. I’m going to be in his face the whole night, and I’ll be throwing bombs at him and trying to get the fight over with.”
Gutierrez has a lot to fight for. He’s mired in a nasty custody battle over his son, who’s at the top of his list of motivations. Not to mention, he hopes to continue climbing the ladder of an ever-growing bantamweight division. And then he’s fighting for his family, as he’s not only representing his home of the United States, but the two countries his parents were born in, as well.
“My last fight, I became the first Guatemalan ever to fight in the UFC,” he said. “I made history for my mom’s country, and that’s something I hold very proudly. No one can ever take that from me, and I’m excited to continue that journey.”
UFC on ESPN+ 14 goes down Saturday, August 10 from Antel Arena in Montevideo, Uruguay. It will be broadcast live on ESPN+. The card is headlined by Valentina Shevchenko vs. Liz Carmouche II for the UFC flyweight title.
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