In his professional MMA debut this past January at Titan Fighting Championship 16, Anthony Gutierrez (2-0) did not disappoint when he knocked out Jacob Aiken (0-1) in the first round.
With an astounding amateur record of 17-3, Gutierrez has a habit of stealing shows and ending fights in less than five minutes.
This was proven true again in his second pro bout at Titan Fighting Championship 17 when Gutierrez submitted Jon Hollis (2-2) in just four minutes and 20 seconds.
Now Gutierrez is back and he is looking to make short work of another opponent.
On July 29, Gutierrez returns to the cage to take on fellow undefeated rising bantamweight prospect Cody Land (2-0) at Titan Fighting Championship 19 LIVE on HDNet.
Gutierrez recently spoke with ProMMAnow.com’s (www.prommanow.com) Josh Cross about his upcoming fight, what it was like to train with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male, and how he plans on handing the undefeated Land his first loss.
PRO MMA NOW: Can you talk about how you became involved in MMA?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: Yeah. Basically I kind of stumbled into an MMA gym when I was about 15. There was one in a local workout place so I just took some classes for fun and tried to get involved a little bit. I pretty much just trained there and I fell in love with it immediately. I really haven’t stopped since the first day I stated training. I really started to enjoy it and so when I turned 18 I had my first MMA fight in high school.
PRO MMA NOW: You said that before you made your professional debut you wanted to have 20 amateur fights first, which you did. What made you settle on that specific number, and how do you feel that having that many has helped you so far in your professional career?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: A lot of times successful pro fighters have a strong college wrestling background or they have a strong background in some kind of martial art. Then when they kind of jump into MMA they will fight about five amateur fights on average and then they’re really ready for the pros. Well I kind of tried to humble myself into saying, “Look, you don’t have any background as far as a specialty or anything like that.” I figured that I just needed to pay my dues on the lower level MMA circuit so I could get caught up with all that. I figured that 20 amateur fights would kind of make up for all of that lost time and I would have more experience and feel more comfortable in the pros.
PRO MMA NOW: Can you talk about how you got “sharkbait” as your nickname?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: Yeah, I got it when I was about 16-years-old. I was still training with some of the Grindhouse guys. We weren’t Grindhouse at the time, but it was all of the same guys like James Krause and Eric Marriott, and when we would train and stuff they would basically just beat up on me. Back then I was even smaller than I am now, so they just started calling me sharkbait because I was always willing to go to pro practice and spar. So the nickname has kind of stuck from there on.
PRO MMA NOW: How has your training camp been going for your upcoming fight?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: It’s been going great. I do all of my training at Grindhouse when I’m at home. I also just got back from Sacramento, California where I trained with Team Alpha Male out there too for this fight. Ever since the first time I went out there I’ve kept in touch with Faber and all those guys, and so I’m just going to kind of make it a habit to train 70 to 80 percent of the time at Grindhouse, but every once and a while go out to Alpha Male and get some good workouts in with those guys because obviously they have the best 135 and 145 pounders in the world.
PRO MMA NOW: So what was it like training out there with the guys from Team Alpha Male?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: It was great. Those guys out there are really intense as far as practice goes. Everything is very structured. The intensity is 100 percent, but honestly it’s not very much different than Grindhouse. They obviously have Chad Mendes, Joseph Benavidez, Urijah Faber, Justin Bucholz, and Danny Castillo that are on top levels, and they have a great pro team. I really go out there for the wrestling aspect and just to really step my cardio up to the next level. Both gyms are perfect for me for sure.
PRO MMA NOW: Now you’ll be facing Cody Land in your upcoming fight. How much do you know about him, and how do you feel that you two match up?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: The thing primarily about his game is he’s a jiu-jitsu guy. Most of his wins are by submission and I think that unfortunately for him I feel like I’m better than him at jiu-jitsu. I’m not afraid to go to the ground with him. I’m willing to grapple with him for all three rounds and I think I’ll do fine, but I think I’ll have a huge advantage on the feet. What I’m going to be looking to do is just keep it on the feet and beat him there. I’ve been working very hard on my takedown defense, but if he can take me down I’m ok there too. I feel like I’ll be looking for the finish pretty much wherever the fight is.
PRO MMA NOW: Now the majority of your amateur fights and all of your professional fights have never made it out of the first round. What would you attribute that to, and do you see this fight going longer than one round?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: I definitely see this fight ending in the first round. Like I was saying earlier, a lot of guys will have a really strong martial art aspect and that will be the primary part of their game. Of course those guys are great at other aspects of the fight, but they really have one way that they are very comfortable with. I think the reason why I’ve been able to finish so many guys is because I’ve learned to be a C+ fighter everywhere. I tell people that I’m not an A+ wrestler. I’m not an A+ striker. I’m not an A+ jiu-jitsu guy. I’m just like a C+ at everything. I would like to think that I’m able to win a fight wherever the fight takes place, and so I think I’ve just been able to give myself more options to finish fights. I credit that to my long amateur career and just being comfortable and experienced.
PRO MMA NOW: I know it’s still early on in your professional career, but do you feel any pressure from being undefeated?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: Yeah. I would say your first eight fights or seven fights it’s pretty crucial to go 7-0 or 8-1 like that type of thing. I’ve been fighting at Memorial Hall for awhile so I’m pretty comfortable fighting there. I feel the same pressure every fight, which is just to get the win. That’s pretty much it.
PRO MMA NOW: You mentioned how comfortable you are fighting at Memorial Hall and the history you have there. Do you think that’s an advantage you have over your opponent who is making his debut with Titan Fighting in this fight?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: Definitely. Everybody is different, but there are little things that can go on in a fighter’s head before a fight. If you’re in kind of foreign waters sometimes you’re like, “Who is going to sing off on my gloves? Who do I need to have signoff on my hand wrap? When am I fighting? Is there an intermission?” So I guess I could have an advantage on that as far as I could be more comfortable there, but I expect none of that to have any affect on him just by him being undefeated as a pro. You never know though. It is definitely one little advantage that I will have in being at home.
PRO MMA NOW: Looking beyond this fight, where do you want to see your career go? Are there any specific goals you have?
ANTHONY GUTIERREZ: Making it to a promotion like the UFC, Strikeforce, Dream, or Bellator has always been my number one goal. I’m not very confident in myself right now and where I’m at to be put on a UFC main card though. The good thing about recognizing that is that I can continue to work on those things and get better, which I am, so that one day when I do get to one of those major promotions I won’t be uncomfortable.
PRO MMA NOW: What would you say would be the best way for fans to keep track of what you’ve got coming up in the future?
PRO MMA NOW: Are there any sponsors you want to plug or people you might want to thank?