Lance Lawrence (5-0 MMA) competes on Dana White’s Contender Series this coming Tuesday, July 16. Lawrence spoke with The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko ahead of his upcoming opportunity.
In an era where fighters are coming up in elite MMA gyms from a young age, Lawrence’s beginnings harken back to the early days of the sport. Every day after high school, “The Tornado” would hop off the bus and go train in a garage.
As an amateur, Lawrence went 7-0 finishing every opponent he faced. Five of those victories came via a choke of some sort. He continued his penchant for strangling his adversaries as a professional. Be it a triangle, guillotine or rear-naked, Lawrence has finished every one of his professional bouts via some variation of a chokehold.
“I would call myself a submission artist for sure. A submission fighter I believe I’m a well-rounded mixed martial artist and at the end of the day, that’s what I am. But you could say I’m that with a knack for choking people out.”
Lawrence rose through the ranks of Hardrock MMA in the Ohio Valley. He is thankful for the way they handled his development. The promotion would assure Lawrence had solid challenges and no “gimmie fights”. Lawrence’s last bout in Hard Rock MMA was his first to go to the second round in his professional career. That fight was against Chris Dunn, a man who had been in the cage with more than one UFC veteran. Dunn also has 20 more professional fights than Lawrence.
The Contender Series
The impressive victory coupled with the efforts of his manager, Jason House, led Lawrence to his upcoming bout on Dana White’s Contender Series. On July 16, he’ll step into the cage to meet Kevin Syler (8-0 MMA). It’s a matchup that pits two men who have never tasted defeat against each other.
“He’s [Syler] 15-0, amateur and pro all added up. I’m 13-0 if you at those stats. It’s two undefeated fighters going at it in front of Dana White for a UFC contract. It doesn’t get more high stakes than that. We’ve both worked our whole lives for this.”
The Kentuckian sees his upcoming Contender Series opponent as a world-class fighter. Syler trains out of American Top Team and is highly ranked in his native Bolivia. Lawrence believes that if he finishes him, there’s no way White can deny him a contract. Should he earn the coveted piece of paper, Lawrence will be thrust into one of the most stacked divisions in modern MMA. Like everyone who signs on the dotted line, the aspirations are to fight for the belt one day. When asked how he stands out from that backdrop of killers at 145-pounds, Lawrence was to the point.
“I’m Lance ‘The Tornado’ Lawrence. That’s what makes me different, man. There’s nobody else out there like me.”
Brandon is a long-time fan of combat sports who has covered them for various outlets since 2017.