Dakota Cochrane is a family man and veteran of multiple fighting disciplines who lets his in-ring actions, rather than his words, speak for themselves.
This 33-year-old Omaha, Nebraska native is coming off arguably two of the biggest wins of his career, but victories over former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks and former UFC fighter Chris Leben, have not gotten to Cochrane's head.
"I'm just a small town kid. I have a small circle," Cochrane said. "Everybody who I surround myself with, cheers for me obviously, but they know the normal me. They expect me to go in there and win, and if that's what I do, it's cool, if not, they're cool with that too. I have a good circle, good family, good support system."
On March 14, Cochrane will return to the sport of bare knuckle for a third time, his second with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship. He will toe the line against another popular former UFC competitor in Melvin "The Young Assassin" Guillard at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas, part of the BKFC 11 fight card.
"I was supposed to fight Joey Angelo in Wichita, but then he hurt his hand, so that was a no go," Cochrane said. "Then they (BKFC) called me and said, 'Melvin Guillard.' I said, 'yep, sounds fun.'
"It's going to be explosive," Cochrane said about the upcoming battle with Guillard.
"The first couple minutes are probably going to be hell, but then I think my heart and determination, and skill level will follow me through to victory."
When asked for a prediction for the bout against Guillard, Cochrane said "TKO, second round."
So what is it about Dakota Cochrane that has made him excel in the sport, being able to defeated legends of the game?
"I would say my body is just kind of made for it (combat sports)," Cochrane said. "I've always been kind of an explosive fighter. With bare knuckle it is 2-minute rounds so you've got to go from the start, there's no wasting time, nothing going on other than throwing hard and getting after it. That's kind of always how I've been. I was a sprinter in college, and a pole vaulter, so it was always those fast switch muscles.
With close to 50 pro MMA bouts under his belt, one could say Cochrane is a seasoned veteran, but a rather humorous oversight on his part may have led to him finding even greater success in bare knuckle.
"I kind of did it unknowingly when I first started MMA, but I never wrapped my hands underneath my big gloves," Cochrane said. "I didn't know I was supposed to when I started. It wasn't until about two years in that my coach told me to go wrap my hands and I told him, 'I throw on my gloves, I'm good.' He was like 'what? You've never wrapped your hands?' I said, 'no, not once.' He was like, 'well, I guess it works.' The whole time I was doing MMA, since I turned pro in 2010, I've never wrapped my hands for sparring or practice. But, I think it has helped me in this (bare knuckle) now.
Not looking past Guillard, Cochrane doesn't really have any specific plans or a path to follow, but he did like the sound of a championship belt being wrapped around his waist.
"If I can get a title in bare knuckle that would be pretty damn awesome, but I like the big fights, I like the big names. I like beating up people that I'm not supposed to (win against). That's always good motivation for me. I like to compete, I like to make money. I really don't care who it is, I'm just gonna go out there and try to knock them out, and then it's onto the next."
"BKFC 11" will be broadcast across the United States and Canada, exclusively on pay-per-view through MultiVision Media, Inc., on all major television distribution outlets for $29.99. It will also be available to BKFC's international broadcast partners worldwide and via stream to all in-home and out-of-home connected devices through FITE.
Tickets for the live event are on sale this Thursday, January 30 at 10 a.m. CT and can be purchased online at www.selectaseat.com, by phone at 855-733-SEAT (7328) and in-person at the Select-A-Seat Box Office at INTRUST Bank Arena.