Mario Bautista’s Bounce Back

Jul 18, 2019

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Not every start to an Ultimate Fighting Championship career is a smooth one. Mario Bautista found this out firsthand with his short-notice debut loss to Cory Sandhagen at UFC Fight Night 143 in January. With a full camp, and greater understanding of what it takes to win at the highest level, the Arizona native will be looking to earn his first UFC win when he faces off against Jin Soo Son at UFC on ESPN 4, set to take place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.

When making a UFC debut, the jump up in media responsibilities and spectacle can throw some fighters off their usual fight week rhythm. However, Bautista, 26, says that none of that really had an effect on him as he prepared to step into the Octagon for the first time.

“It didn’t really affect my rhythm. I am sure it affects some other people,” Bautista told Sherdog. “With me, if anything, it just kind of kept my mind off the fight. It was kind of short-notice.”

Even as he stood in the cage, Bautista says that the dreaded “UFC jitters” never registered. In the end, the reason he was unsuccessful was because he was bested on fight night by a man he admits he knew would be the toughest test of his career – fast-rising bantamweight Cory Sandhagen.

“We knew he was skilled and it was going to be a tough fight,” recalled Bautitsta. “His length – he uses it well in the cage. He seems a lot longer in the cage than [he seemed from scouting]. He was only two inches taller than me, but he felt a lot taller and a lot longer. And it was hard to get a read on his feints. That was the difficult part, trying to get in.”

In this exclusive Sherdog video interview, Bautista talks about the learning experience of his debut in the promotion. He also gives his thoughts on his opponent on July 20 and what his fight preparation is like when it comes to scouting. Bautista then speaks on if he feels any added pressure in trying to avoid a 0-2 start in the promotion. Conversation also includes his life as a fighter and father to an eight-month-old daughter, his path to the sport, and how legendary Japanese promotion Pride Fighting Championships was the source of his original interest in the sport.

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