Coming off a torn ACL, Chris Gutierrez eyes June UFC return against Andre Ewell

Chris Gutierrez hasn’t competed since August 2019.

That night, he defeated Gil de Freitas by split decision. By doing so, Gutierrez parlayed his result into a two-fight UFC winning streak. But while he won the fight, he did not walk away unscathed.

According to Gutierrez, he suffered a knee injury in the third round. It didn’t hurt too badly at first because of the adrenaline, but as time progressed, that changed.

“I completely tore my ACL,” Gutierrez told MMA Junkie. “It was in the fight, in the last round. I felt it kind of give. During the fight, you don’t really feel it because your adrenaline is going. Afterward, there’s the pain. I thought maybe I tweaked it. I didn’t really think anything bad about it. A couple days later, I was like, ‘Man, this is not good.’

“I waited a little bit longer. Then, I had to go get it checked out. Then, the worst news ever. Especially as an athlete – to be told your tore your ACL or anything? Especially your legs. You’re on them everyday to get around. When one of them is gone, it’s like life takes a pause there, as well.”

Gutierrez had ACL surgery in September. Weeks prior to the coronavirus pandemic causing UFC postponements, Gutierrez finally received clearance to resume competition. Despite the UFC’s current hiatus, Gutierrez is still preparing for a June return to action.

“I got cleared in February and was going to take a fight in June,” Gutierrez said. “That’s when my comeback was. It was supposed to be in June. Hopefully people can get on board with finding a damn cure for this damn coronavirus thing, so life can resume back to normal. I don’t like this.”

When he steps into the cage for his next fight, Gutierrez hopes a particular opponent is standing across from him: Andre Ewell. Gutierrez (14-3-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) said he has the utmost respect for Ewell (16-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and actually sees similarities between them, including outside of the cage, as they both have gone through recent custody battles for their children.

“No disrespect to him,” Gutierrez said. “It’s not like any bad blood. I heard some people saying that we must dislike each other. No, it’s actually the complete opposite. Yeah, he fought one of my teammates. I thought Jonathan Martinez beat him. It is what it is. I want it because stylistically it’s a great fight. The fans get a good show. We get to go out there and perform.

“Most importantly, I respect him as an individual. We’re both going through the same thing as fathers. He’s kept away from his son. I’m kept away from my son. I have nothing but respect for him. He goes out there and puts on a show. I’m going to do the same thing.”

Check out MMA Junkie’s full interview with UFC bantamweight Chris Gutierrez in the video below.