Bellator 286: Lance Gibson Jr. Wants to Be the Ken Griffey Jr. of MMA

Long Beach, CA — “Nice and relaxed” is how Lance Gibson Jr. describes the current stage of his career. After six pro fights, the bulk of which came in Bellator, “This is part of my blood, it’s part of what I’ve done my entire life, mixed martial arts. It’s just another day in the office, and I can’t wait to get it done.”

Sporting a Ken Griffey Jr. t-shirt during this week’s Bellator 286 media day, Gibson (6-0) said he’s hoping to emulate the Mariners’ legend in MMA. “The kid, he’s a beast. There was just something about him that you can’t shake. Whether it was just his aura in general, he was amazing. I want to emulate him in the sport of mixed martial arts, I want to be that guy. I think he’s the best, for sure.”

Given Griffey Jr. was a 13-time All Star, 10-time Golden Glove award winner, and 7-time Silver Slugger among other accolades, Gibson would be in rare company if he could hit that level in MMA.

Gibson, of course, comes from a fighting family; dad Lance Sr. fought in the UFC, while stepmom Julia Budd is a former Bellator MMA featherweight champ. As the youngest child in the family, he was a keen observer early on.

“I’ve learned a whole wealth of knowledge, and I believe I take that in there with me when I’m fighting every time,” he told us.

Gibson gets Dominic Clark this time out, a fighter with over four times his own experience. To get it done, “I think I just go in there, go with the flow and be me,” said Gibson. “At the end of the day, I just need to trust my instincts and execute my performance. I have all the skills in the world. I have skills everywhere, whether it’s on the feet, on the ground, in the clinch; Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, who knows, it doesn’t matter. I have all the skills, I’ve just got to go in there and do it.”

Lance Gibson Jr. faces Dominic Clark at Bellator 286 on Saturday, October 1, 2022 in Long Beach, CA.