‘Baby Slice’ Looks to Continue Kimbo’s Legacy
There are few names that carry more weight in the world of fighting than "Kimbo Slice". During his development from an Internet street brawler to one of the biggest names in combat sports, Kevin Ferguson captured worldwide attention in a way that has never and will never be replicated. Slice, who died this year at the age of 42, left behind a one-of-a-kind legacy along with six children that he was determined to give a better children than the one he led. One of those children has taken the ultimate inspiration from his father, and is now on the verge of his professional fighting debut.
Kevin Ferguson Jr., who goes by the moniker of Baby Slice in honor of his father, will make his twice-delayed pro debut in Bellator, the last promotion that Kimbo ever fought for. He fights at Bellator 165 this weekend vs. Aaron Hamilton. While the scale of the event could cause a 0-0 fighter to become nervous, Ferguson says that watching his father compete has prepared him for the spotlight.
"I was calm, taking it all in," Ferguson said of watching his father fight. "I was understanding everything. It was something I needed to experience for this moment. If I didn’t go through that, this would be different. But the fact that I experienced that, it makes this ten times easier."
When Kimbo Slice passed away, much of the public eulogizing on the man was focused on his care for his children and his desire to make them better versions of himself. "Baby Slice", 23, is a walking embodiment of that effort: He is well-spoken and calm beyond his years given his fighting spirit, and he understands the fight game like few young men could. Ferguson also said that the physical training he did with his father has made an invaluable impact on his preparation.
"We always sparred," he said. "I trained with him a lot. It was a great experience — I sparred with him so it ain’t a thing sparring with [fighters his size]. It’s pretty much easy for me — my dad was 235, 245. Sparring with him, the way he looked, the aggression he brought…these guys are nowhere near that. So it’s easy for me to go out there and do my thing."
Ferguson’s bout is at 170 lbs., giving physical evidence to back up his "Baby Slice" nickname when compared to his heavyweight mammoth of a father. Despite the size difference between Ferguson Jr. and his predecessor, "Baby Slice" believes he and Kimbo are cut from the same cloth in terms of their fighting style. And while some athletes born to famous parents look to break free from the shadow and make their own name, Ferguson Jr. is content with being always mentioned in the same breath as his dad.
When Kimbo Slice passed away at 42, the fight game lamented a larger-than-life figure that was taken from the world too soon. Ferguson Jr., who knew Kimbo not as a hulking legend but as a good dad, wants to carry on that legacy.
"My name is Kevin Ferguson Jr., man," he said. "We have the same name, we have the same style. I don’t mind living under his shadow, I’m okay with that. I don’t mind continuing his legacy. I want to continue his legacy, I want to live in the shadow for now. It means more to me now."