American mixed martial arts fighter
For the baseball player, see Justin Lawrence (baseball).

Justin Ray Lawrence (born May 15, 1990) is an American professional mixed martial artist currently competing in the Featherweight division of Bellator MMA. A professional MMA competitor since 2010, Lawrence has also formerly competed for the UFC, Strikeforce, the RFA, and was a competitor on FX‘s The Ultimate Fighter: Live.



Originally from Pacific, Missouri, Lawrence began training at the age of six under his step-father, Benny Voyles, a former professional boxer and kickboxer who owns his own gym in St. Louis, Missouri. Lawrence would go on to become a two-time St. Louis’ Golden Gloves Boxing Tournament Champion, and compile over 150 amateur kickboxing wins.[2][3] In kickboxing, Lawrence also was a six-time IKF International Kickboxing Federation National Kickboxing Champion, and a two-time Pan-American Kickboxing Champion.[1][2][4] Lawrence began wrestling in the third grade, and was talented, placing in the state tournament multiple times as well as in football as a running back at Pacific High School. Lawrence was also a member of the school’s drama team.

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In 2007 Lawrence began his MMA career, taking his first amateur fight, winning in the first round via submission (rear-naked choke).[5] He picked up four more amateur wins, accumulating a record of 5-0 before turning professional.[5]

Lawrence’s professional debut came on December 4, 2010 at Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu II in St. Louis, Missouri. His opponent was highly touted Russian fighter, Max Martyniouk, who was also making his professional debut. Lawrence dominated throughout the bout but after Lawrence delivered a soccer kick to the head of the downed Martyniouk the fight was forced to go to a technical decision. Despite the illegal kick, Lawrence was awarded the win via a unanimous technical decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).[6]

After the exposure from Strikeforce, Lawrence received a call from Ohio promotion, Bobish’s Ultimate Cage Battles, to fight on their April 9, 2011 card. Lawrence fought Pete Martin winning the fight via unanimous decision.[7] Lawrence then fought Jason Webb on November 11, 2011 at Fight Me MMA 3. Lawrence won the fight via submission (armbar) in the first round.[7]

The Ultimate Fighter[edit]

In February 2012, it was revealed that Lawrence was selected to be a participant on The Ultimate Fighter: Live.[8] Lawrence defeated two-time WEC veteran James Krause via TKO to move into the Ultimate Fighter house, and become an official cast member.[9]

Lawrence was selected as the first overall pick by Dominick Cruz to take part on Team Cruz. In the first round of the tournament, Lawrence was selected to fight PRIDE veteran, Cristiano Marcello. Lawrence was able to defeat Marcello by knockout at 3:15 of the second round, earning a place in the quarter-finals.[10]

Lawrence’s quarter-final fight was against Team Faber’s Michael Chiesa. After a hard fought two rounds the judges declared a draw and the fight went to a third, “sudden-death” round. Lawrence was mounted early in the third round and lost via TKO, eliminating him from the competition.[11]

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Though Lawrence did not win the show, UFC President Dana White decided to sign all 16 cast members to exclusive UFC contracts.[12] Lawrence made his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale on June 1, 2012 against fellow TUF cast member, John Cofer.[13] Lawrence won via KO due to a head kick in the opening seconds of the third round. The performance earned both participants Fight of the Night honors, with Lawrence also earning a Knockout of the Night bonus.

Lawrence made his Featherweight debut, dropping down to face Max Holloway on August 11, 2012 at UFC 150.[14] After two close rounds Lawrence lost the fight via TKO (body punches) at 4:49 of the second round.

Lawrence next faced Daniel Pineda on April 13, 2013 at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.[15] He lost the fight via submission in the first round and was subsequently released from the promotion.[16]

Resurrection Fighting Alliance[edit]

Following his release from the UFC, Lawrence signed with the Resurrection Fighting Alliance.[17] Lawrence faced Luis Saldana at RFA 10 on October 25, 2013. Lawrence won the fight via unanimous decision.[18]

Bellator MMA[edit]

In April 2015, Lawrence signed a multi-fight contract with Bellator MMA.[19] He made his debut against Sean Wilson on June 19, 2015 at Bellator 138. Lawrence won the fight via TKO in the first round.

In his second fight for the promotion, Lawrence was expected to face Pat Curran on November 6, 2015 at Bellator 145.[20] Lawrence instead faced Emmanuel Sanchez after Curran pulled out of the bout due to a knee injury.[21] He lost the back-and-forth fight via split decision.[22]

Lawrence next faced Isao Kobayashi at Bellator 157: Dynamite 2 on June 24, 2016. He won the fight via knockout in the second round.[23]

Lawrence faced John Teixeira at Bellator 167 on December 3, 2016. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.[24]

Lawrence faced Treston Thomison at Bellator 181 on July 14, 2017. He won the fight via TKO due to doctor stoppage in the first round.[25]

Lawrence faced Andrew Natividad at Bellator 193 on January 26, 2018.[26] He won the fight via unanimous decision.[27]

Lawrence faced A.J. McKee at Bellator 197 on April 13, 2018.[28] He lost the fight by unanimous decision.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]


  • International Kickboxing Federation
    • National Champion (Six Times)
    • Pan-American Kickboxing Champion (Two times)


  • St. Louis Golden Gloves
    • Golden Gloves Champion (Two times)
    • Diamond Gloves Champion (Two times)

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]


  • ^ a b Justin Lawrence – Official UFC® Fighter Profile
  • ^ a b “Baby-Faced Justin Lawrence Stands 5’8″, Weighs 165 Pounds and Can Kick Your Ass Six Different Ways”. March 17, 2010. Retrieved March 19, cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output .citation q{quotes:”””””””‘””‘”}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-free a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-free a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .id-lock-registration a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-registration a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .id-lock-subscription a,.mw-parser-output .citation .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/9px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-ws-icon a{background:linear-gradient(transparent,transparent),url(“//”)right 0.1em center/12px no-repeat}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:none;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-maint{display:none;color:#33aa33;margin-left:0.3em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .citation .mw-selflink{font-weight:inherit}
  • ^ “Meet the Fighters: Justin Lawrence”. March 9, 2012. Archived from the original on March 18, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  • ^ “Justin Lawrence: The New Kid On the Block – Black House MMA”. Archived from the original on 2017-07-05. Retrieved 2015-04-20.
  • ^ a b “Justin Lawrence – Black House MMA”. Archived from the original on June 25, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  • ^ “Strikeforce Results & Live Play-by-Play”. December 4, 2010. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  • ^ a b “Justin Lawrence Fight Finder”. March 19, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  • ^ “‘The Ultimate Fighter 15’ cast unveiled with 32 lightweight fighters”. February 27, 2012. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
  • ^ “Mixed martial arts results, Season 15 – The Ultimate Fighter” (PDF). State of Nevada, Department of Business and Industry Athletic Commission. March 9, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 17, 2012. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  • ^ “Episode No. 3 recap: ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Live'”. March 23, 2012. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  • ^ “Episode No. 10 recap: ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Live'”. May 11, 2012. Archived from the original on May 14, 2012. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  • ^ “Dana White reveals matchups for TUF 15 finale”. May 23, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  • ^ “TUF Live Finale adds Lawrence-Cofer”. May 23, 2012. Archived from the original on May 25, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  • ^ “Justin Lawrence vs. Max Holloway booked for UFC 150 in Denver”. June 18, 2012. Archived from the original on June 21, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  • ^ “Pineda-Lawrence set for TUF 17 Finale in April”. February 11, 2013. Archived from the original Check |url= value (help) on September 23, 2010.
  • ^ “Duran, Holobaugh, Lawrence, Sicilia, Tamura among UFC fighter releases”. May 8, 2013.
  • ^ “Meet RFA’s latest signings including Justin Lawrence, Chris Spang and Kevin Casey”. Archived from the original on 2015-04-27. Retrieved 2013-08-20.
  • ^ “RFA 10 results: Mike Rhodes cruises in title fight, Justin Lawrence victorious”. October 26, 2013.
  • ^ Bellator MMA signs RFA featherweight champ, UFC vet Justin Lawrence | MMAjunkie
  • ^ Marc Raimondi (August 20, 2015). “Former champ Pat Curran meets Justin Lawrence at Bellator 145”.
  • ^ Luke Thomas (October 13, 2015). “Pat Curran injures knee, withdraws from Justin Lawrence bout at Bellator 145”.
  • ^ Dave Doyle (November 7, 2015). “Bellator 145 results: Daniel Straus wins featherweight title in thriller over Patricio Freire”.
  • ^ Brian Knapp (June 24, 2016). “‘Rampage’ Jackson Handed Split Decision Over Satoshi Ishii in Bellator 157 Main Event”.
  • ^ Guilherme Cruz (December 3, 2016). “Bellator 167 results: Darrion Caldwell avenges loss to Joe Taimanglo, earns shot at champion Eduardo Dantas”.
  • ^ John Morgan (July 14, 2017). “Bellator 181 results: Derek Campos scores trilogy win over Brandon Girtz in blood-soaked instant classic”.
  • ^ Tristen Critchfield (January 12, 2018). “Justin Lawrence to Face Andrew Natividad on Bellator 193 Preliminary Bill”.
  • ^ John Morgan (January 26, 2018). “Bellator 193 results: Lorenz Larkin picks up first Bellator win”.
  • ^ Alexander K. Lee (February 8, 2018). “A.J. McKee books Bellator co-main event fight vs. Justin Lawrence on April 13”.
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