Kevin Ferguson Jr., more commonly known to fight fans as Baby Slice, has been waiting for his return to the Bellator cage for a while.
Thanks to the coronavirus wiping out a March date, Slice has been on the sidelines over a year. At Bellator 253 this Thursday, he finally gets his long-awaited date with Kaheem Murray.
His last appearance was a disappointing No Contest against Craig Campbell. Originally a win for Slice, the victory was overturned due to illegal elbows. Despite that setback, and the onset of the pandemic, Slice is taking it all in stride. “I’m just me. I don’t try to control anything. I just roll with the punches,” he told Cageside Press recently. As long as his own health and that of his family is okay, he added, “then I’m okay.”
Slice, alongside A.J. McKee and Joey Davis, will be representing Team Bodyshop on Thursday. The team led by Antonio McKee saw one major change over the past year or so, as top prospect Aaron Pico moved down to New Mexico to join Jackson-Wink MMA.
When it comes to the change, “As far as wrestling-wise, we have that. I have Joey Davis, I have my coach Anthony McKee,” said Slice. Meaning despite the loss of a high-level wrestler and Olympic hopeful in Pico, Slice remains in good hands. However, “on a personal level, we lost a friend,” he added.
That’s the MMA game. Fighters move around. Especially young fighters starting out, which would include Pico, and Slice himself.
Luckily, Slice has learned from past generations of fighters. Take the pandemic itself. Slice has been able to keep the focus on fighting, not needing to worry about picking up work with so much off-time.
“I’m good at managing my money, and saving it. I’m young, so I’m learning to invest and where to put my money, things like that. I’m smart when it comes to that,” he said. Slice’s wife has also gone to school for nursing, and will be working in hospitals soon.
Once again lined up with Kaheem Murray, as he was in March, Slice has kept the approach simple, as always. “Just do my thing, you know? I don’t really worry about my opponent,” he explained. “Especially when it’s time to fight. He’s never fought anyone like me.”
The fight is set at 155lbs, and while Slice has dabbled in catchweights in the past, those days are over. “If I’m fighting now, it’s going to be at 155,” he stated. “I’m trying to move up in the ranks now.”
The lightweight is also looking forward to competing in an empty arena, which he thinks is “going to be better” for him, given his coach Antonio McKee’s ability to guide him step-by-step.
“When you’re watching, you’re going to hear him. He’s going to walk me through that fight every step of the way,” suggested Slice. “Not that it’s going to be easy, but the way he coaches, it’s going to be smooth if I just listen and pay attention to our little codes.”
Baby Slice takes on Kaheem Murray as part of the Bellator 253 preliminary card this Thursday, November 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. The main card airs on CBS Sports following online prelims.