It has at times been an uphill battle for Dakota Cochrane. He's fared well overall with a 17-8 record as a pro, but he missed out on a UFC opportunity when he lost a qualifying bout for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15.
Of course, it could have been a rough season in the house had he gotten in, given the news about his history in the adult film industry, although Urijah Faber warned people not to take Cochrane lightly.
Since that time, Cochrane has gone on to record signature wins over the likes of Efrain Escudero and Anton Kuivanen, but his debut in Bellator as a late replacement fighter made him prey for "Tiger" Sarnavskiy's rear-naked choke.
Now, as Cochrane prepares for his next Bellator MMA fight on March 27th against Ryan Couture, son of MMA legend Randy 'The Natural' Couture, Cochrane will get what he didn't on TUF: a second chance to make a first impression.
He talks about that opportunity in a recent interview with MMAmania.com.
"I think (Couture) is a different kind of tough. I think he's just a tough dude. He's probably gonna be... my guess is very aggressive and try to gas me right away. I'm ready for a good fight."
Cochrane feels that one advantage he has is the amount of footage available for Couture, given that almost every fight in Couture's career has been seen by a worldwide TV audience.
"I've seen quite a few of his fights. He's not one to just give up during a fight. That, and every fight he's had has been on a big stage. He's been at the top shows his whole fight career, so he's not going to be extremely nervous or anything."
Cochrane believes he would have been ready for the big stage in his Bellator debut, too, with more time to prepare.
"I took it on a week's notice, and obviously Tiger's a very, very tough dude. I'm looking forward to working my way back up so I can rematch him."
There's no doubt Cochrane would be in line for a lightweight title shot if he beats Couture and then Alexander Sarnavskiy in a rematch, but Cochrane would like to put his (film star) past behind him first.
"It's a thing of the past, and I'm over it, and I expect everyone else to be over it. If you're not, then I understand, but yeah, it is what it is and it's the past and I'm all about the future."
The people helping him get ready for that future are at the Premier Combat Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
"(We've) got a lot of guys coming up, like Derek Minor, he's making a name for himself. Of course you got Joe Ellenberger, so you know a lot of good guys to train with. I'm pretty lucky to have it here in Omaha."
Bellator MMA is pretty lucky to have Cochrane, too, who promises his fight with Couture will steal the show for "Warren vs. Galvao" in Thackerville, Oklahoma.
"I need to enforce my striking game (and) make him respect my striking so that way he's trying to take down instead of me trying to take him down. That's the name of the game, it's a big chess match. I think it's going to be a very well deserved victory for either one of us."
Complete audio of our interview is below, and complete coverage of Bellator 135: "Warren vs. Galvao" will be available at MMAmania.com for the weigh-ins, live results, and post-show recap.