MMA-Prospects Staff Picks: MMA Prospects to Watch in 2021

Bo Nickal receives an award. Credit: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.

AJ Cunningham

AJ Cunningham has his hand raised in victory. Credit: Reggie Dreaming Photography
  • Selected By: Joe McDonagh
  • Age: 26
  • Nationality: U.S.A
  • Record: 7-1
  • Division: Featherweight (145 pounds)
  • Current Promotional Standing: Pyramid Fights/iKON Fighting Federation featherweight

AJ Cunningham (7-1), an Arkansas native who survived a horrific childhood, is on the cusp of the UFC.

The 7-1 featherweight isn’t in a rush to make it to the Octagon, he just wants to fight. Cunningham went 3-0 during the pandemic in 2020, including an appearance at iKON FF 4, which aired on UFC Fight Pass. His only loss came at the hands of Bellator’s Solo Hatley Jr. in November 2019; he has won three straight fights since.

Cunningham has finished all but one of his professional fights, notching three submissions and three knockouts.

The 5’10” prospect has a knack for finding submissions, much like his cousin, UFC fan-favorite Bryce Mitchell. Cunningham has landed four submission victories, and in 2020, added two TKOs and a decision to his already impressive resume.

Cunningham is a grappling wiz, but he has recently zoned in on his striking. This development has only made him an even scarier opponent to see across the cage.

The most interesting part of AJ Cunningham’s journey? At 26, he isn’t rushing into the UFC or any major promotion — he is happy to continue to grow in every aspect of the sport before he hits the big shows.