An Introduction To AJ Fletcher
By Sandi Martin
Amateur lightweight fighter, AJ Fletcher, is a sweetheart of a guy from Baton Rouge that’s scaring the hell out of the others in his division. If they aren’t worried then they aren’t paying attention. He’s been called Louisiana MMA’s future and I’d say that’s a fair assessment of him at the tender age of 21, but AJ has his eyes set on the big show beyond Louisiana.
At a respectable 6-2-0 he has yet to be finished in his amateur career, losing only twice to decision. He’s currently ranked 4th of 79 Louisiana amateur fighters in his weight class and 36th of more than 800 regional lightweights. He’s got knockout power but this guy’s no meathead. He’s also a Biology major with an impressive academic record. His fight IQ shows it and I believe it will continue to serve him well.
In Louisiana, where high school football is religion, AJ was a breakout star at St. Michael The Archangel High School in Baton Rouge. When he realized that at 5’9” his dreams of playing college or professional football were slim to none, he decided to break away from team sports altogether and focus on something where he could achieve his goals based on his own individual efforts and merits. That’s where MMA came in.
His introduction to the sport at a smaller MMA gym in Baton Rouge was intriguing enough to convince him to move out to Lafayette and join Gladiators Academy where the real killers are. As most young bucks just starting out, he thought he’d be in the UFC with Dana and company by 21. He’s learned the road is a little longer for most and he’s accepted it with the kind of grace and humility of a much older man.
Watch a few of his fight videos if you need more convincing, especially his KO’s of Eric Duhon and Jacob Small. In May of 2018 Fletcher’s first loss to Jesse Roberts, a friend of his, was actually a learning experience that he didn’t take lightly. Roberts expertly wrestled Fletcher for 3 rounds Khabib-style and exposed a hole in his game that AJ was forced to acknowledge and deal with in the gym. A decision loss to Jalen Hill at Fightville 2 came a few months later and it only served to motivate the hungry young lightweight, as he came back strong with back to back wins against Kevin Smith and Jamal Peyton.
Of course, I had to ask him… what’s next? He’s looking for another fight in late March or early April. Whoever they give him is fine, he says he’s confident he can handle whoever they put in his way. This 21 year-old has already accomplished enough to hang his hat on but he’s hungry and unsatisfied. Look for his pro debut sooner rather than later. Follow his rise to the top on Instagram at AJ_Fletchermma.