The family that grapples, punches and kicks together, sticks together.
It's a motto that Lance Gibson Sr. could claim as his own, as the Port Moody-based mixed martial arts coach/trainer is working with two of his favourite people.
Fiancée Julia Budd enters the cage on Saturday in Kansas City for her sixth MMA bout, while son Lance Jr., who just racked up a clean technical knockout in his debut two weeks ago in Arlington, Wash., will assist him in the corner.
The trio are in Kansas City for the Invicta FC championships, where Budd will square off against Britain's Danielle West as part of an all-female card.
As a proud father and an intense competitor, Gibson Sr. has been riding an emotional rollercoaster since his son committed to the MMA game. But it wasn't because the younger wasn't prepared for it.
"[Lance Jr.] is very well rounded, actually very driven for a 17-year-old," said Gibson Sr. "He has a strong foundation that comes from his wrestling and he relies a lot on that as a foundation."
Prior to his first official but non-sanctioned fight, Gibson Jr. had to wait to find an opponent, his dad said. Once Byron Fernandus stepped forward, Junior made quick work and finished the match in 1: 30.
"I was a little nervous, because we didn't get a fighter until late," said Gibson Sr. "He wasn't nervous. He's had hundreds of wrestling matches over the years so he was calm. I had to be calmed down by [Budd]."
At the age of two, Gibson Jr. was a regular at his father's gym just off St. Johns St. Growing up in that environment likely helped steer him towards martial arts, but as a teen his focus was drawn to freestyle wrestling. He's since earned All-American wrestler status while attending school in Washington State, and finished fifth at the nationals.
"He's very confident on the mat, and that crosses over to the cage," said Gibson Sr. "He's still growing and building with a strength program. I see with him so much potential."
Budd, meanwhile, enters Saturday's event looking to make it two wins in a row after she took out Swede Elina Nilsson in the first round of their featherweight match three months ago.
"It was a great fight, really good experience," recalls Budd, who improved to 3-2 with the victory. "I won in the first round on a TKO, and I got to use some wrestling skills that I picked up training with Lance [Jr.]."
It was a big win, coming after a painful first-round loss last November to unbeaten Ronda Rousey.
Immediately after beating Nilsson, the 29-year-old muay thai champion turned her focus on the next fight and is pleased with how she feels as she gets ready to enter the cage.
"Wrestling has really helped me, because I came from a muay thai background," she noted. "[The wrestling] has given me more confidence with my mat work."
Both Budd and Gibson Jr. have benefited from training together, their trainer said.
"There is no harder sport than wrestling," Gibson Sr. said. "It's gruelling. You learn so much from it."
Budd's featherweight (136-to 145-pounds) bout on Saturday will be available to watch free at www. invictafc.com.