Rob Cunningham is a Scottish professional Mixed Martial Artist currently competing in the Heavyweight Division. He has competed for MMA Uncaged, about to compete for Megdan Fighting and has signed a multiple fight deal with EFC.
I’d like to start this off by thanking you for taking the time to speak to me today Rob, how is training going for your Heavyweight title opportunity?
“Thank you very much for having me on, my man! I’ve just about recovered from a bad leg injury! Which wasn’t ideal, but I’ve managed to train, easing myself back into things. Luckily my fitness levels haven’t dropped and I’m pretty much where I should be this far out.”
Last we had the pleasure of witnessing you in action, was back in May at MMA Uncaged FC: MMA Uncaged Bantamweight Grand Prix vs Dion Groombridge, coming out of there with the W. This being your first step into the professional scene, the win must have been a very special feeling for you?
“Yes, back in May I made my pro debut. Firstly I’d like to thank Jamie Hay and Ian Butlin for that opportunity – they are two of the best blokes I’ve met in the sport. I consider them good friends now. As for the pro debut, it’s something I really wanted to do and achieve for a while. I’ve had a lot of dropouts in the ammys – I think it was something like 12 Fighters in 5 fights. So I was taking late replacements and it wasn’t always a great idea. I didn’t take up MMA until I was 26, so I was very much still learning as I went. I always knew that the amateur’s would have been a bit rocky for me, but I just wanted to learn the sport as I went. Every aspect of it. I fought some top top lads, different styles and although you take losses to heart, every time I looked back, I got what I needed out of them, bar some results. In my head I have certain stepping stones and I envisioned everything and set different goals that I want to reach. Now I feel I’ve learnt the sport enough to compete as a pro. I’ve been lucky enough to train in some of the best gyms with top Coaches and Fighters too. Who have all helped me along the way – I’ll never say anything to discredit all these people and coaches have done for me. I’m very grateful. So going back, yes I was very happy to get the debut win – first round TKO. What followed was even better! A 6 fight deal with one of the biggest promotions in the world! EFC.”
You are going to take on one of your biggest tests to date, Taking on Domingos Ruskov Quentin for Megdan Fighting, in a bare knuckle bout for The Heavyweight title in Serbia. How does it feel to potentially be getting your first taste of gold in your professional career?
“Yeah, I’m going over to fight in Serbia against a very strong opponent. It’s actually Polish Genesis rules, so not BKB. It’s a different style, which I have confirmed. I’m happy to be taking this fight. It’s more experience fighting on a huge show, against a top European Heavyweight, I can’t wait. I’m going in there to win the belt.”
The Heavyweight Division in any aspect of the fight game is always a wonder to behold, a vast amount of Fighters spread across the world have got to showcase their talents at Megdan Fighting, Domingos being one of many. Have you seen him in action, what do you make of your soon to be opponent?
“Yeah, the Heavyweight Division is a bit of a crazy one, I’ve had a couple issues this year to address, so I had to wait a little longer than I wanted. I’ve had a look at Domingos. He’s tough, big and powerful, but so am I. I’m only just begging to unlock a small amount of my potential. There is a lot of learning and improvements to come and this fight will only help me do that. He’s a great Fighter- so I’m looking forward to it.”
Bare Knuckle Boxing has got to be one of the biggest tests of endurance a Fighter will ever have to face. How do you physically prepare yourself for this sort of combat?
“Yes, it is different to MMA. I’ve had a couple which I didn’t perform too great in. But again, I was a total novice. And the two guys I fought, are two of the top guys in the UK now. You get a lot of negativity. Sometimes people say you should have done this or that or whatever, but it doesn’t phase me anymore. I don’t know anyone else that signed for the EFC after a pro debut or going over to fight in Serbia. I’m writing my own story and finding my own way. My mind is my hardest opponent. I’ve had a lot of issues and struggles there, but that’s all for another day. All that matters is, I’m here now, doing what I love and I know where I’m going. If people want to support me, then I’m eternally grateful, if not then I don’t mind. I always say you can’t please everyone. But if people are talking, you are doing something right.”
Last but not least do you have a message for the fans that will be in attendance to your upcoming bout and is there anybody you’d like to give a shout out to?
“A message to the Megdan fans, I look forward to being in the ring and putting it on the line for you. It’s my honour to be fighting in your country. As far as shout outs go, I just want to say thank you to every single person who supports me. My beautiful mrs, my family and my friends. Strangers, whoever it is. I mean it when I say it, I appreciate you all. Every past and present Coach and team mate, no matter which gym or part you played, I’m grateful. I’m just a guy trying to do what he loves to do. I’ll keep doing it until I get to where I know I will be.”
The Heavyweight Division has gained another warrior in Rob, the sheer determination and pride the Scotsman holds, as well as how much he has learned at the start of his professional career, has equipped him with all he needs to succeed. Keep a close eye on the Heavyweight Division, it won’t be long before we see a grand addition to the top half of the rankings, I am sure.