Mando Gutierrez knew who Raul Rosas Jr. was well before he was paired with him in a bantamweight clash at Dana White's Contender Series 55. What he didn't know was just how much reaction the 17-year-old Rosas Jr. would garner when given a shot at a UFC contract at such a young age.
"I didn't realize it was going to be as big of a deal as it was," Gutierrez told MMA Underground. "I knew his age from the time I accepted the fight, but I didn't think it was going to get blown way out of proportion like that. I didn't realize so many people were going to talk about it and care about it, but I mean, the more eyeballs on it, the better. I'll gladly spoil the party."
Gutierrez (7-1) and Rosas Jr. (5-0) meet on Sept. 20 at the UFC Apex, and like all Dana White's Contender Series events, the two are hopeful of not just a victory but also signing a UFC deal. However, since Rosas Jr. was announced for the card, there has been quite a buzz around his appearance. After all, it's not often you see fighters who need their parents' permission gunning for a UFC deal.
Gutierrez isn't thinking twice about it, though. He's known of Rosas Jr. for quite some time and respects the young man's talents in the cage, but "El Toro" isn't letting anyone of any age stop him from his ultimate goal.
"I know exactly who he is, and I know he's tough," Gutierrez said. "He's obviously here for a reason. They didn't give him this opportunity just because of his age, so I'm not underestimating him or his ability whatsoever. I know he's tough. I know he's game, but I truly don't care who it is. I'd fight a 12 year old in there to get my contract. It don't matter to me.
"If anything, all this talk and everything, I think that's on him. All that type of stuff falls on him. That's his narrative, not mine. My narrative is I'm going to go out there and get my contract because I've paid my dues, I've done the work, and it's time to collect."
To hear more from Gutierrez, including his desire to be the UFC's best barber, check out the video above.