When it comes to "The Fugitive" Dave Jansen, you can't stop the hustle. At 20-2 as a pro, his record speaks for itself, but just as impressive and if not more so, is his streak of seven straight wins in Bellator MMA, the last coming over two-time Bellator tournament winner Rick Hawn.
That victory didn't just add another name on Jansen's already impressive resume, it earned him what he's wanted and asked for all along: a Bellator lightweight title shot.
On April 10th at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California, he'll get that shot against "Ill" Will Brooks in the Spike TV main event of Bellator 136. For Brooks, it will be his first title defense since unifying the interim lightweight title with the vacant lightweight strap last November.
Jansen recently spoke to MMAmania.com about the challenge Brooks presents to him on April 10th, and how he uses his unique approach to fighting to continue to achieve dominance. Jansen had something to get off his chest right from the start, after Brooks was talking smack on social media.
"It's interesting the way he's been presenting his outlook of me. It's either he's a really good actor, or he really is ignorant to the fact of my skill set. He says I'm really basic -- that is true -- I am basic. I've just gone back to the basics over and over again and I think that's the key to winning fights."
Jansen vows that he's not going to let Brooks get into his head, and that he won't play the Twitter game with him.
"I myself I have this $25 Go phone, because phones aren't really that important to me. I have the text to Twitter, so I can see people that tweet at me, and Will Brooks tweets at me a lot! He trolls me on Twitter. It's funny to me, it's entertainment. I've got to thank him for keeping it lighthearted. I see the inner child in him, that scared inner child."
Should Brooks be scared? If the record of dominance Jansen has in Bellator doesn't give him pause, maybe the unique fight preparation that Jansen does will make him realize that he can't take his opponent lightly. Jansen achieves his calm, focused demeanor for fights with the help of a flotation tank.
"It is totally dark. The water is right around 93 degrees, which is roughly the skin temperature, you lose yourself in the water and have an out-of-body experience sometimes. There's something like 800 or 900 pounds of this special epsom salt in the water, which is 10 inches deep or so, so you're buoyant, your posture is totally in line. It's really easy to get into a self-hypnotic trance and do this mental conditioning, and letting go of all thoughts. It's like hitting the reset button and coming out fresh and reborn."
It may sound unorthodox, but the wins in Bellator back up the practice, as does Jansen using a kick bike to "crush hills" and improve his cardio and limb movement, as well as the ancient art of juggling.
"For me, it's another way to get into that meditative state really easily. If I'm free of thought I have no problem catching those balls, and I can do some tricks now. It develops hand eye coordination, as well as peripheral vision, because you can't just look directly at the balls, you've got to let your eyes blur."
If that means Jansen can see an opponent coming and throw a perfectly-timed strike before he's even in range, it's a practice more fighters should adopt. Jansen even finds that listening to hip-hop gives him zen-like focus before a fight.
"MF DOOM. I've had him listening in the background, Special Herbs Vol. 4 & 5. He's been there for me. Just one of the musicians that I'm really thankful for discovering."
Jansen is the kind of fighter who could be featured in one heck of a Bellator special on Spike TV, but don't mistake him as being anything less than serious about his title shot, because he plans to give Will Brooks some of his inner peace.
"He's on his vision quest, I'm on mine, we're gonna meet somewhere in between. I want the best for Will Brooks, I really do. I think the best for Will Brooks is a lesson in humility, and I'm happy to oblige giving him that lesson. He's gonna learn a lot."
You can watch Jansen take on Brooks in the main event of Bellator 136 on April 10th at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, California. MMAmania.com, as always, will have complete coverage on fight week, and the audio of our interview is below.