Kevin Ferguson Jr. has a background in photography and fashion, but with a name like “Baby Slice” it’s clear fighting is simply in his DNA.
One of the most impressive things about Kevin Ferguson Jr. is how well he balances the questions about his famous father. It is an identity and a legacy he embraces wholeheartedly, having said previously that he carries the “Slice” nickname as a way of honoring him as he embarks on his own mixed martial arts career. So it is no surprise that speaking to Ferguson about his life and career outside of the cage frequently revolves back to the fighting spirit that is just part of who he is.
Lately, Ferguson is best known for being part of the Team Bodyshop crew that looks poised to take over the Bellator organization by force. But before he focused on fighting full time he was heavily involved in arts of a different sort. Ferguson attended the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where he studied Fashion and Photography. Though his studies sound as if they were preparing him for a world of photoshoots, Ferguson insists that there is plenty to carry from that world over into MMA. “Well, photography came from traveling with my Dad, taking pictures and recording his fights. So I kind of fell in love with it from there. Fashion is just the wardrobe you know. You get dressed every day. So I wanted to learn to style a bit, how to put things together and make it look good. I feel like my name is getting big enough to where I can design my own clothes. I just designed a couple of new Team Kimbo shirts.”
His passion for photography most recently booked him a spot as a guest photographer for MMAJunkie at Bellator 192 in January. While Ferguson did not have the pressure of competing on fight night, he did have the closest seat possible to the action as he watched his teammates Aaron Pico and Joey Davis step into the cage. Both men did not put “Baby Slice” through much stress as they took care of their opponents in under two minutes. This meant that he was able to go out and enjoy the experience to the fullest. “It was pretty natural. It was pretty easy. It was all cool. I got good shots of [Pico and Davis]. I enjoyed myself for sure.”
A quick browse of Ferguson’s Instagram will immediately tell you that his father continues to be a part of his life. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ferguson revealed that it was his father who encouraged him to make the move from Florida to California to join a legitimate team where he could develop his skills. That move led him to Team Bodyshop where he trains under the tight-knit group headed by UFC veteran Antonio McKee. Ferguson is part of the team that has been coined “The Movement,” a group of surging young Bellator contenders consisting of AJ McKee, Aaron Pico, Joey Davis and himself. When asked about what it is about the Bodyshop group that lends to their success across the board, Ferguson states:
“I think it’s a little bit of everything. We have good guys in there like Joey Davis and Aaron Pico. We also have some new guys in there that are really good. We don’t gas each other out. When we’re training we’re not the people we are inside the cage. It’s AJ, it’s Pico, it’s Kevin. We keep it real with each other. Like if I’m sitting out or I’m skipping around AJ is like ‘Slice what are you doing? Get back in there, let’s train.’ We push each other. We don’t take it easy.”
Besides observing his teammates back in January, he also had a front-row seat to scope out his competition as he watched Devon Brock make headlines by defeating Khonry Gracie, the son of UFC legend Royce Gracie who was making his professional debut. While Brock stunned Gracie with his more comprehensive game, Ferguson insists he is not concerned with what his opponent will bring to the cage. “I don’t really look for threats in my opponent. I look to impose my will and I know what I’m trying to do. It’s a fight, anything can happen so I’m just staying prepared.”
A running theme in the career of “Baby Slice” is that he has already shown a more complete mixed martial arts game than his father did. As to whether or not he would be surprising fans with his abilities at Bellator 197, Ferguson ended with “I guess you’ll have to wait and see. We should definitely do an interview after the fight and we can definitely talk about that then.”
“Baby Slice” Kevin Ferguson will face Devon Brock at Bellator 197 this Friday live on Paramount Network.