Interviewing professional fighters can be a difficult trade. There are many different ways to approach an interview.

Some interviewers take a technical standpoint and try to get deep with statistics that most fighters don’t even know about themselves. Others, like one particular Syracuse grad, are more concerned with gossip and take the teenage approach. Every possible angle from the creative writer to the fanboy has been used before, and some people just can’t get out of their rut and find their voice. Sometimes, just telling a straightforward story is the best approach.

So, here is an attempt at telling it like it is…

Ryan Jensen is a native of Omaha, Neb.. He is 36 years old and is a member of Generation X. He’s a son, a husband, a father, a business owner, a coach and a professional mixed martial artist.

Jensen got his first exposure to the Ultimate Fighting Championship when his coach, Omaha police officer Steve Jennum, won the UFC 3 tournament in 1994 as an alternate. From there, Jensen’s life changed. He went on to train with Pat Miletich, the original Team Quest, Jackson-Winkeljohn, and eventually opened his own gym, Premier Combat Center, in his hometown.

As a pro fighter since February 1997, Jensen has racked up a 19-8 record and fought eight times in the UFC. He is one of the few fighters who has over 25 fights and has never been to a decision. That statistic alone tells the story of a guy that enters the cage, fights his ass off and never leaves it to the judges.

In telling the story for what it is, Jensen did have a rough run in the UFC. He went 2-6 in two separate stints inside the Octagon, but the promotion kept bringing him back for a reason. He’s one of the most exciting fighters to watch. In addition to the heart that he brings to the cage, the opponents he faced included world-class guys—guys like Demian Maia, Mark Munoz and Wilson Gouveia. It’s not like he was fighting scrubs.

Now, with a renewed spirit, the 17-year vet is back on track with a four-fight winning streak, including his last bout only a month ago in which he scored a knockout of Ryan McClain at the 1:19 mark of the first round.

McClain had previously tapped out Jensen at a North American Grappling Association (NAGA) event. Jensen went into the fight knowing that grappling is one thing, but striking is another.

“He hasn’t fought in a long time, and I guess he had a lot of ring rust,” Jensen told The MMA Corner. “I think the last time he competed, it was jiu-jitsu. NAGA and jiu-jitsu is not punching somebody in the face. [They are] two different sports, and I don’t think he was prepared for the experience I had.”

Prior to his win over McClain, Jensen already had his next fight lined up. He needed to remain healthy, which he achieved quite easily. With another consecutive victory under his belt and no damage taken, he was in a position to jump on the Bellator 117 card, which takes place Friday night at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The venue is only a mile from the Omaha border, so it was set up for the perfect turnaround. Quickly, he received the call from Bellator.

“It was about three weeks ago,” Jensen explained. “They switched my opponent up on me. It was supposed to be David Gomez, and they switched it to Mark Stoddard. I think David Gomez got bumped up to fight Karl Amoussou. So, they found another opponent for me on short notice. I’ve only known for four or five days.”

Gomez seems like a tougher fight on paper, but Stoddard is no slouch either. Gomez was a three-time King of the Cage champion, whereas Stoddard has three belts in smaller promotions. The combined record of the opponents in Stoddard’s current winning streak is below .500, but Gomez, after coming off two losses, just beat a 9-16 guy. Jensen doesn’t really care whose ass he gets to kick on Friday.

“[Stoddard has] got like 14 or 15 fights,” Jensen explained. “His last fight was against a UFC vet, LaVerne Clark, but that guy’s been out of the work for a while. He’s a young—I guess, hungry—kid, but I don’t foresee me having too much problems. I don’t think he’s ready for me.

“Hopefully, it’s a recap of my last performance. These guys are trying to make a name off me because I’m a UFC vet, and these guys are hungry kids trying to come up. I say ‘kids’ by a lack of experience, not by age. These guys are trying to make a name off me, and it’s the wrong move. They should have stayed in the gym and practiced more.”

Jensen isn’t talking tough. He’s just stating the simple facts, and those facts include four first-round finishes in his last four fights. Nobody can twist that fact. People who think he’s a stepping-stone get stepped on.

After he punished McClain, Jensen knew he had no time for fooling around, but he still had to have a little decompression time after a long camp. Mid-March couldn’t have been better timing.

“I did a full 12-hour bender for St. Patty’s Day, and after that bender, I was back in the gym,” Jensen admitted. “I didn’t take any time off. I celebrated St. Patty’s Day, celebrated my win, and frickin’ went right back into training after that.”

When a guy in his late 30s gets done with a long fight camp—and a big win, to boot—the last thing on his mind is to get right back at it. However, for a dedicated MMA professional that knows he can get back into the Octagon for a third run, slowing down is not an option.

“I’ve kind of relit that flame,” Jensen said. “I enjoy it. I enjoy coming in. I think after this one, I might take a week off to celebrate. You know, go off to Baltimore, take a week or two off, and figure out when the next fight is. It’s been good. I knew I could have been on the Bellator card from the very beginning, so I just trained hard, and if it was meant to be, it’s meant to be. Sure enough, it happened.

“It’s a one-fight deal with a two-fight option, which means they can keep me around if they want. If not, I can fight at different venues around town. I’m trying to build my fights at 170 [pounds], so it’s exactly what I want.”

While Jensen is training, it can be difficult to keep a good pulse on the business aspect of his gym. However, he and his partner, Kurt Podany, have put the right people in the right places. Not only does this make it easier for him to train as a professional athlete, but the atmosphere in the gym is ripe with competitive spirit at this point in time.

“I’ve got my front-desk people, and my instructors coaching all of the classes,” Jensen explained. “We’ve got Houston [Alexander] and Anthony Smith on this card, Jason Brilz fighting in Titan, and Joe Ellenberger fighting in the UFC, so the room’s been packed still. We’ve got great team practices, and I couldn’t ask for much better. I feel good, I feel blessed, and I’m ready to get in there and step it up, then go watch my man Joe make his debut.”

Jensen has a solid background and a deep stable of coaches and training partners. He wants to reinvent himself as a welterweight fighter tomorrow night and extend his winning streak to five on the Bellator stage. His appearance with Bellator means he will have fought in the three biggest promotions in MMA, including the UFC and Strikeforce. No matter how someone tries to twist it, this veteran is a force to be reckoned with.

In the infamous words of Detective Sergeant Joe Friday, “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”

Ryan would like to thank all of his family, friends, coaches and training partners, especially those at Premier Combat Center and Gracie Barra Omaha. He would also like to thank his sponsors: Soldier Sports,, Prime Time Healthcare, Fundraising U, Performance Chiropractic, D-Tect Investigations, Animal Instinct, Whiskey Tango, B & G Enterprises, Husker e-Cigs and Elite Drywall & Painting. Follow Jensen on Twitter: @RyanJensenUFC