Kevin Ferguson Jr has only his second mixed martial arts contest at Bellator 179 in London on Friday, May 19.
Rarely do novice athletes from Bellator — UFC’s rival promoter — transcend their sport, but Ferguson Jr is different.
Ferguson Jr is the son of late, great fighter Kevin ‘Kimbo Slice’ Ferguson Sr, who died from heart failure aged just 42 last year.
An underground legend, Kimbo achieved YouTube fame for his vicious street fighting prowess.
Kimbo ditched street fights in favour of cage fights and competed professionally under the EliteXC banner in 2007, joining UFC in 2009 before a more lucrative move to Bellator, the promotion his son — Ferguson Jr, aka ‘Baby Slice’ — is now contracted to.
Baby Slice has dread-locked hair, a dark beard, and thick arms. He’s also chilled, super friendly, and told Business Insider the key lessons he learned from his Dad.
“He taught me a lot, y’know,” Ferguson Jr said as he looked out on 60,000 seats at the London Stadium in Stratford during Bellator’s preview event on Wednesday.
“I learned about the hard work you have to put in and the sacrifices you have to make in order to be successful in life. He taught me that you sometimes have to stand your ground. And he taught me that you have to give respect to get respect,” he said. “He raised me, y’know.”
With life lessons came fight lessons, of course. “He also taught me how to bob and weave, the importance of head movement, and how to get out of punches. I didn’t train as much with him as sometimes I was in school but I went along to a lot of his fights and loved to watch him,” said Ferguson Jr.
Now 25-year-old Baby Slice has a fight of his own. He lost his first battle after tapping-out to Aaron Hamilton’s second round guillotine choke at Bellator 165 in November last year. But on Friday, at Wembley Arena, he gets the chance to right that wrong. He is confident he will succeed.
“Fight camp went really well. Stand up and cardio went well, I’ve been working on everything: Jiu-jitsu, ground defence, and ground punishment.
“I really don’t know my opponent’s strengths, honestly, I just know mine and how hard I trained. And in my gym we have a bunch of styles so I don’t think he’s going to do anything I haven’t seen already.”
“I’m just really confident going into this fight, y’know.”
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