‘Tucky Strong – Louisville’s Unstoppable Lance Lawrence

By Danny Jones, @TidyMMA


Following the promotion’s inaugural Kentucky event in Owensboro last year, LFA returns to the Bluegrass State on March 29th 2024 for LFA 180.


For the first time in the promotion’s history, LFA will hold an event in Kentucky’s largest and most populous city – Louisville.


Making his promotional debut at LFA 180 against Texas’ Landry Ward, featherweight talent Lance Lawrence represents his hometown as the lone Louisvillian on the main card.


It’s a dream come true” Lance admits. “Having LFA come to Lou’ – that’s just amazing in itself. It doesn’t matter where I get on the card. I mean I’m super thankful I’m on the main card – I do believe I’m worth it. I know I’m worth it. I know I’m gonna put on a good fight. I know what I’m capable of. I’m just super thankful [LFA is] coming here. I’m looking to raise the roof off this place. We like some fights out here!”.


Holding a 7-4 professional record, Lance notably holds a victory over current UFC athlete Jonathan Pearce, having delivered the Tennessean his first professional defeat in 2016.


Many, however, will recall Lance from his spirited performance on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2019.


In a bout overshadowed by his opponent’s 6.5lbs weight-miss, Lance displayed an unbelievable durability, toughness, and heart against Kevin Syler – a performance garnering praise from the commentary team and Dana White alike.


Indeed, heading into the third round, broadcaster Brendan Fitzgerald commented “well we can’t question the toughness of this fighter from Louisville, Kentucky”, to which now-retired UFC Lightweight Paul Felder responded “‘Tucky strong, man! This kid is tough!”.


In the post-fight media scrum, Dana White said of Lance “That kid’s tough. If you know anything about the kid when he fights, he always moves forward”, later expressing respect for the Louisvillian.


To this day, Lance has never been stopped across his professional or amateur career. Maintaining a signature-resilience in his performances, the 30-year-old conveys an athlete that is, by definition, unstoppable.


I’ve just had too many people put too much into me to not just give my very best” Lance admits. “I owe that to everyone who supported me. My wife, my family. I owe it to myself. I decided this is what I wanted to do at sixteen years old, and [I’ve] been relentless in the ups and the downs – I would just keep hammering away. I do believe it’s a mindset. I’ve got too much conviction to quit. I know this could be the hardest part of my life in those fifteen minutes we’re gonna be in there. I’m mentally ready for it. My losses have helped me shape that… I got too many people watching to quit and to give up. I’ve got people that care about me. They can see me take a tough night, but I can’t let them see me get finished”.


Through his own admission, the years that followed Contender Series have been challenging for Lance’s professional career.


While getting married and becoming a father to two daughters was certainly a blessing, an expanding family required Lance to return to full-time work.


After Contender Series, I had a bad streak” Lance admits. “I had a lot going on in my life. I had new-born kids for all my losses”.


I quit my job as soon as I got the call for Contender Series, but that was only three-six weeks out” Lance explains. “And then afterwards, I had to make money. Kid on the way. I was working full-time – forty, fifty, sometimes sixty hours a week, and fitting in training as much as I could, and trying to be a good husband as well. That was pretty much everything I had besides sleep”.


Make no mistake, it was a sacrifice worth making.


Lance’s youth was wrought in tragedy and adversity. He never knew his father, who was killed by a drunk driver before Lance was born. Both Lance and his mother were homeless, “bouncing from couch-to-couch pretty much since [he] was 10 years old”.


Lance provisioned that which he did not have in his youth – stability, and security.


In being a father, however, Lance has found an added motivation behind his professional mixed martial arts career.


It just gives you more drive” Lance admits. “You want to leave a legacy – leave something for your kids to be proud of. I always had that in the back of my head, even as an amateur. I grew up without a father. Never had one. So, I just felt like I had to be twice the dad. I’m gonna be present as much as possible. Fighting is allowing me to do that”.


Whilst Lance was temporarily the sole provider for the family, his wife has since returned to full-time work. In turn, Lance has been able to step away from his full-time job, and instead focus on mixed martial arts.


With the last fight that I had, I quit my job” Lance says. “I’m just in a good spot where even before I took my last fight, I had already quit my job… I’m not ready to stop. I’m ready to double down on everything”.


My wife was really happy to go back to work” Lance adds. “It made her happy, so it made me happy… Definitely not working right now, just giving this my 100%, I’ve never [been able] to do that in my whole career. I’ve always worked a full-time job. So, I believe all that’s gonna show in the fight. You’re gonna see what I’m fully capable of. That’s my goal. To just show my capabilities”.


The author extends his utmost gratitude to Lance Lawrence for making this article possible.


Image kindly provided by Lance Lawrence with permission from Quincy Brents. Image credit to Quincy Brents of Quincy Brents’ Sports Photography.


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