Chris Gutierrez respects Frankie Edgar, says beating him at UFC 281 ‘not bittersweet at all’

NEW YORK – Beating Frankie Edgar in his final fight won’t make things any more difficult for Chris Gutierrez.

Gutierrez (18-3-2 MMA, 6-1-1 UFC) faces Edgar (24-10-1 MMA, 18-10-1 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 281 from Madison Square Garden. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.

It will be the final time Edgar makes the walk to the octagon as he’s expected to retire, but Gutierrez won’t be impacted by the emotional moment.

“My job is to go in there and win,” Gutierrez told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at media day. “It’s not bittersweet. He’s had his run. He’s done amazing things for the sport. No, it’s not bittersweet at all.”

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Gutierrez will get a big opportunity and an extra spotlight being former UFC lightweight champion Edgar’s final opponent, but the 31-year-old said his seven-fight unbeaten run is what got him here. Gutierrez is coming off a bonus-winning spinning backfist TKO of Danaa Batgerel in March.

“No, not really,” Gutierrez said. “I earned my spot here. I came off a really big win back in March, and I stayed in the gym, stayed focused, and I kept my head down, and kept working. And I believe life comes full circle, so I earned my shot and when the opportunity came knocking, I was ready.”

He continued, “Frankie is a legend in the sport. He’s done amazing things. It’s still Frankie at the end of the day. I’m not gonna take anything away from the guy. He’s still a dangerous fighter, and that’s why I’m treating this fight like I treat every other fight.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 281.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie