The BC Bad Ass is Back at AFC 3!
Many Canadian fight fans may not recognize the name Baz Cunningham, but come AFC 3 at the Bear Mountain Arena in Colwood, BC, Bad Baz will be a name many never forget.
Baz Cunningham (5-0) has been involved in the martial arts world since the age of sixteen, and if you do the math on his age, that’s over twenty years of learning to scrap! Baz began with Shotokan, before moving on to Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jeet Kune Do and traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu. To help round out his game Baz spent two years at a boxing club and spent six years practising Kempo Shootfighting. His experience in the combat arts is quite extensive.
Baz’s fight career began in 1998 with Muay Thai and amateur mma bouts, he decided to take his game professional in 2000 and had his first sanctioned MMA fight against Todd Steen (0-4) winning by KO in an amazing eight seconds into the fight. Baz then went on to achieve wins over Paul Forde (1-2), Ben Greer (11-5) and Jaime Renne (0-4). The win over Greer, who went on to fight in Bellator, is notable, but keep in mind that the win over Greer was both six years ago and only Greer’s second fight. After his win over Jaime Renne in 2004, Baz “retired” from the sport that was in the midst of an ever growing popularity.
Cunningham explains his decision for leaving the sport, “Life led me to my little MMA walk-about, and then my wife had our baby girl, so I decided to focus on work and taking care of my family for a while.”
So why the comeback, and why now? Baz explains, “I started a fight club up here in Campbell River and I want to lead by example. I also want to see how far I can take this thing, maybe be a champion someday.”
After six years out of the cage, Baz made his come back at Aggression MMA Trilogy in Vernon, BC last month. In this bout, Baz was a late replacement for a new fighter, Matt Cashman (0-0) who had to pull out of the fight due to an injury. Jumping on the opportunity to get back in the scene, Baz took the fight that would bring his name right back onto the Canadian Featherweight charts.
“Matt came up to my club to train for this fight, and then at some point suffered a rib injury. I saw this as my chance to get back in, and I was ready so I jumped on it.”
Baz’s fight was named Fight of the Night at the event against a tough opponent Brendan Frost (2-2). The fight with Frost had the entire audience at the Westbuild Center on their feet while these two fighters went to war. Baz describes the fight,
“I watched a video of Frost fighting and figured he was a one trick fighter who would throw like mad, I knew I was much more rounded. I felt flat footed at the start of the fight, but once it’s on it’s on and I got focused. I never considered Frost as a super hard fight, he did surprise me with his aggression and hit me hard at the beginning, but I kept it together and came back even harder, it went like that for the whole fight.”
The next challenge for Baz will be against a ZUMA stand out Nick Driedger (4-1) at Armageddon FC on July 17 in Colwood, BC right outside of Driedger’s hometown of Victoria. This fight will be Baz’s toughest test yet, especially after such a long break with the “retirement”. A win over Driedger could possibly see Baz placed on Top MMA News’ Top Ten Featherweights list and bring much more challenging opponents in the future.
Cunningham discusses his upcoming fight,
“Nick looks like a much better fighter on his vid [than Frost]. He also fights out of a world class gym with Adam Zugec at ZUMA so I am expecting a war. I am definitely treating this fight as my hardest test yet. I will bring in a well rounded game with heavy striking and take the W. Top ten in Canada eh? Well first I have to beat him [Driedger] and then it’s up, up, up…”
The fight with Drieger will be sure to entertain on July 17. Just watch Baz’s fight vs Brendan Frost here if you want a taste of what is to come at AFC 3.