Chris Gutierrez remembers his thoughts after Frankie Edgar’s knockout. ‘S ***, He’s okay,’ he said.


Chris Gutierrez could hardly celebrate his latest highlight-reel knockout.

The fast-rising bantamweight contender scored the biggest win of his career this past Saturday at UFC 281, leaving a stunned Madison Square Garden crowd in silence after landing a devastating KO knee on former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

It took Gutierrez a little over two minutes to put Edgar away and when the fight was over all he could think about was his fallen opponent’s health.

“As soon he started to stiffen up and fall, I thought, ‘S ***, He’s okay,’ Gutierrez stated on The MMA Hour . That was the first thought that came to my mind immediately. This is why I wasn’t able to celebrate the occasion at all. My genuine self was like: I want him to be okay. I didn’t really care to celebrate. Even though we were all on the same team, each of us had our emotions and went into the fight with the coach. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride.

“But yeah, I saw him fall, the first thing that went through my mind was, ‘I hope he’s OK.’ … It was almost scary because when I walked out, the boos echoed and the floor was just rumbling. The electricity is palpable. So I knew I was going to have to earn my respect there.”

It was the second straight knockout win for Gutierrez, who finished Danaa Batgerel with a spinning backfist this past March. Gutierrez has now won four straight fights and is unbeaten in his past eight appearances. He entered Saturday as the betting favorite over Edgar, despite “The Answer” having the bigger name and the support of the New York crowd.

Gutierrez was expecting a win, but even so, he could not have foreseen how the fight would end.

“I believe in my skill set and obviously I throw knees, but to think it was going to just play out like that?” Gutierrez said. “If I told you ‘Yes’, I would lie .”

The bout was billed as Edgar’s retirement bout, the culmination of a 17-year pro fighting career that saw Edgar reign as the UFC’s lightweight champion from 2010-2012, twice fight for the featherweight belt, and finish as a contender in the 135-pound division. Edgar, 41, had previously made it known that 2022 would be his last year as an active competitor, but who he’d face in his final fight was a mystery.

Gutierrez wasn’t just sent the contract but was also a popular choice in Edgar’s camp. Although he did not expect to be Edgar’s last opponent he jumped at the chance.

” I didn’t believe it would be me,” Gutierrez stated. “Maybe my coaches behind the scenes they did, but as far as me, I didn’t have no idea. I just got the phone call, ‘This is who you’re fighting.’ I was like, ‘OK, let’s do it.’

“I guess [the retirement] just made it a little bigger. It’s his final ride. You want to see the legend go out on top. It was very bittersweet, it definitely was. It was bittersweet.

In the lead-up to UFC 281, Gutierrez had hinted at a past beef between he and Edgar, but declined to elaborate during fight week and his appearance on The MMA Hour. Whatever the issue was, it appears to be squashed as Gutierrez relayed the respectful post-fight words he shared with Edgar.

“‘You’re a legend and it’s an honor to share this cage with you,'” Gutierrez said he told Edgar. “I was like the kid growing up watching this guy competing. I always pictured him as like — and I mean no disrespect — he’s like The Little Engine That Could. He was the smallest guy in the division, always being the underdog, and would always prevail on top. Growing up I wasn’t very tall so I thought he was kind of like me. He’s not the most powerful but he is winning. I was like, ‘I’ve got to stay on that track. I want to be like him.’

“So it just took me back. It was almost like I was a child. Overall, I was just like, ‘It’s an honor’ and ‘Are you OK?’ I was just wondering if he was OK.”