How does the average, middle-class, 30-something guy live his life?

As an employee, he might regretfully get up in the morning, go to work for eight hours, maybe go out for lunch, head home, use up that little bit of free time, get up the next morning and do it all over again. As a business owner, it’s probably a fairly similar breakdown, with a lot more working hours and a lot less free time. As a professional athlete, it’s sort of the opposite, with a lot less work and a lot more free time, but a crazy diet and exercise regimen that would make most people want to cry.

All of these examples pertain to an individual in one category or another, but how many people have the time or wherewithal to fill all three roles?

Ryan Jensen is a rare breed. Not only is he one of the owners of Premier Combat Center in Omaha, Neb., but he is also a coach and cornerman for many of Premier’s athletes, as well as a pro fighter himself.

Jensen’s first exposure to the UFC came when his coach, Steve Jennum, won UFC 3. Jensen was actually in attendance at Ultimate Ultimate in 1995 when Jennum fought David “Tank” Abbott. This was the beginning of a long career for the seasoned vet.

Now, at 36 years old, the Omaha native holds a pro record of 18-8 with no decisions. He has fought in the UFC eight times. He has had the privilege of training under Pat Miletich, Team Quest and Jackson’s MMA, and has been able to work out with guys like Spencer Fisher, Nate Quarry, Chael Sonnen and the Ellenberger twins. Needless to say, his pro fighting experience is at quite a high level. This translates well into his current roles.

Premier Combat Center has been growing rapidly into a large stable of pro and amateur fighters. Former UFC fighters Jason Brilz, Houston Alexander, Anthony Smith and Dakota Cochrane, UFC newcomer Joe Ellenberger and many up-and-comers are putting on some great performances, and doors are opening all over the place. This makes Jensen a very busy man.

“We’ve had a crazy couple months for Premier,” said Jensen in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “We have RFA with seven or eight guys on that card. We have our Victory [Fighting Championship] show with eight or nine guys on that show. Right after that, Jason Brilz is fighting Vinny Magalhaes in Titan [Fighting Championships]. Then, a week later is Bellator, and Houston [Alexander] and Anthony Smith are on that card. After that, Joe and Jake [Ellenberger] are fighting in Baltimore for the UFC.”

Indeed, Jensen is a very busy man. Since his last fight in July 2013, he’s been cornering, coaching, and running his gym, all the while waiting for his next opportunity. His last fight was at VFC 40 against Victor Moreno. Jensen made short work of his opponent, stopping him at the 3:12 mark of the first round. Although the seasoned pro was happy with the win, he is still somewhat critical of his own performance.

“I was trying too hard,” admitted Jensen. “I had a guillotine in mind, and that’s what I was going to go for until I got it, and I ended up getting it. I think I was forcing some positions and forcing the fight a little bit. It happens. Like I said, I was going for a guillotine and the guillotine got got.”

At this point, it’s been eight months since that guillotine submission, but he’s finally ready to get back in the saddle and continue his current three-fight winning streak. He wasn’t on the bench for so long by design. It’s just the way the chips fell.

“I had RFA lined up, but that didn’t work out,” explained the vet. “We couldn’t come to negotiations, and then they switched around all their venue stuff. It was supposed to be a couple weeks prior to this VFC event. I was looking to go back-to-back shows, racking up as many fights as I could to get my record up there and get consistent training experience. It didn’t work out, and VFC came along.”

Jensen’s next fight takes place this Saturday night at VFC 42 at the Ralston Arena in his hometown. He was originally scheduled to face UFC vet and former The Ultimate Fighter contestant Shamar Bailey.

It would have been a great statement fight for Jensen, but Bailey ended up taking a fight on Feb. 8, went three rounds, got beat up pretty badly and lost. He had to pull out of the fight with Jensen on short notice and was eventually replaced by a guy Jensen has run into in the past.

“I’m fighting a kid named Ryan McClain,” Jensen said. “We competed against each other at a [North American Grappling Association] event. He ended up subbing me at that event. I think he’s one of Josh Bryant’s training partners.

“We were both in the purple belt division at the NAGA event, but NAGA is not fighting. As much as the jiu-jitsu guys want to say they’re getting into a fight, they’re not getting into a real fight.”

McClain trains out of The 918 Factory in the Tulsa area. He is 12-7 as a pro, also with no decisions on record, and 11 of his wins came by submission, only one less than Jensen. The Oklahoman won his last fight, nearly three years ago, but he was stopped in his four fights prior to that victory.

Regardless of McClain’s lackluster record and time spent on the sidelines, Jensen is fully aware that he needs to stay on his toes and expect the unexpected.

“This guy’s a gamer,” Jensen said. “He hasn’t fought in a while, but I hear he trains with tough guys. That Brilz fight with Josh Bryant, a lot of people said could’ve gone either way. I’m expecting a game opponent. I know his jiu-jitsu’s good. Obviously, he subbed me once, but like I said, jiu-jitsu’s not MMA. All my setups come from punching and striking. I can’t wrestle to wrestle, but I’ll punch and kick you into a takedown. I don’t care who it is.”

Whether his opponent is a true gamer or not is yet to be tested, because nobody really knows what McClain has to bring to the table on short notice after sitting for so long. However, no matter who he fights and under what circumstances, a guy with Jensen’s experience and pedigree knows that he needs to prepare for every fight as if he’s fighting the best opponent in the world.

So, how does a business owner and coach with such a huge stable of fighters under his wing have any time for his own professional training?

“I pretty much told all the guys that they need to fend for themselves,” Jensen admitted. “I come in and I really hit the team practices hard and stuff. About a month out, before my fights, I get pretty selfish. I just tell them, ‘Hey, you guys need to figure it out. I need to train just like you guys do.’ We’ve got tons of coaches up at the gym, so I tell them to get their training partners, get Kurt [Podany] or a couple of the boxing coaches, and make sure they’re hitting pads or stuff they need to be doing. I’m going to be doing the same.

“Coaching, too—when you’re sitting there explaining something to somebody, like the reasons you’re doing some things, you tend to pick up and understand a little bit more. So, I like to do a little coaching just to keep me sharp.”

Sharp, battle-tested and aged like fine wine, the Jensen that McClain will face in the cage is going to be a much different opponent than the Jensen he faced on the BJJ mat. Everything changes when a grappler gets punched in the face, and, 19 fights or not, he has never faced an opponent of Jensen’s caliber in a MMA setting.

Jensen has big goals for 2014. The Bellator card that he spoke of takes place on April 18 right across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He plans on finishing McClain in quick fashion so he can possibly land a spot in that event. With Alexander and Smith already preparing for their respective battles, Jensen would fit in nicely. Plus, it’s right in his backyard.

“I talked to [Bellator] before, but they didn’t like the fact that I was fighting Shamar so close to the event,” Jensen explained. “I called them and let them know when my opponent changed. With MMA and fighting and stuff, you never know who you’re going to get, so this kid might cause a problem for a little bit, but you don’t know who you’re getting in the cage with. You never know what’s going to happen, so I just told them, if I’m not hurt or injured, I’ll have five weeks to train, so keep looking for an opponent and I’ll call you after this fight. I’d like to jump back into it five weeks later.”

Jensen has only fought four times in the last three years. Now, he’s on a three-fight streak, looking to make it four, and has big hopes for the future. He’s never been to decision and plans to keep it that way for the rest of his career. Saturday night will be the next step toward a big career resurgence, and if he makes that Bellator card, who knows what fans will see in the next couple years. Although getting back to the UFC is every fighter’s goal, Bellator would be a step in the right direction.

“All my fights are usually exciting fights. I go to finish and that’s what fans expect of me. I may not have the best record in the UFC, but they kept bringing me back because they knew I was going to bring it and my opponent was going to bring it, so the same thing with this one. This guy’s a gamer, and at my stage in my career, everybody’s looking at me like, ‘Let’s go beat this guy, this UFC vet,’ you know what I mean? They want to use me as a stepping stone to move up in their career. I just want to show them I’m still in the game, and I’m no stepping stone.”

Jensen would like to thank all of his coaches and training partners at Premier Combat Center and Gracie Barra Omaha, his sponsors D-Tect, Fundraising University, Husker e-Cigs, Schilke Erectors, Den Bar, RHS Metals, Soldier Sports, Two Men and a Truck, and TYR Endurance Sport Drinks. Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanJensenUFC