Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn. Some people may not know who he is now, but in the next couple years, this rising star will definitely be in the mix as one of the best featherweights in professional MMA.
Glenn is a 23-year-old Roufusport fighter, originally from Marshalltown, Iowa, but currently fighting out of Milwaukee. He has been fighting professionally since he was only 17, and holds an impressive 11-2-1 record.
Shortly after his first fight, Glenn began attending college in a physical therapy program. After three years, Glenn was just too restless in a classroom setting. Chalkboards and desks weren’t the proper environment for him. The gym mats and the cage called out, beckoning him to make them the center of his studies.
“I got to the point I was starting to do good and make some money,” Glenn said in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I couldn’t stay focused. I would be in class and it was frustrating. I was focusing so much on fighting.”
Glenn is an all-around amazing fighter. He has five wins by knockout, five by submission, and one by unanimous decision. Most of his victories have come in the first round, so he is definitely a finisher, which is one of the key qualities fans look for in new fighters. Of his two losses, one was a split decision, and in his third fight, he lost by first-round armbar submission. Other than his one draw in August 2011, he hasn’t actually lost a fight in over two years. Not bad for a guy who’s only 23, and his game is only getting better.
Glenn began training under the tutelage of Duke Roufus a little over a year ago. He has some tremendous training partners, too. In addition to the likes of Anthony Pettis, Anthony’s brother Sergio, and undefeated Ben Askren, he trains with one of best featherweights in the world.
“Erik Koch and I are usually training partners,” Glenn said. Koch was recently slated to fight Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship, but was scratched with an injury. He is a great training partner for the up-and-coming Glenn.
Prior to Roufusport, Glenn was training in Des Moines, Iowa.
“I was traveling an hour and back to practice almost every day”, Glenn said. When he first made the move to Roufusport, “for the first month and a half, I was driving five and a half hours between Milwaukee and back, coming home on the weekends.”
That is the sign of a hungry fighter, and nobody can question this young man’s dedication. He was so willing to learn from one of the best camps in MMA, that he endured that ridiculous commute, every week, to train.
Glenn and his wife of four years, Jenny, eventually made the full-time move to Milwaukee. Their 9-month-old Italian mastiff, Zella, also lives with them. “She’s like our kid, part of my family,” he said.
The featherweight prospect is definitely a family-oriented guy, but his career focus remains the same.
“I want to be number one,” he declared.
After his most recent win, a second-round TKO over Tristan Johnson at The Score Fighting Series two weeks ago, Glenn made it clear that he wanted a shot at former WEC and current Bellator featherweight Chris Horodecki. He was told that Team Tompkins said Horodecki was their No. 1 featherweight, so that’s whom he wants next.
“Why not, you know? I want to be the best,” Glenn said. “He’s their number-one guy, so, let‘s fight.”
And Glenn has no desires to wait around—he wants that Bellator fight soon.
“I want to keep fighting as much as possible,” Glenn explained. “I was hoping to fight Horodecki on Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want to fight me. So…?”
Perhaps Horodecki will reconsider, or perhaps Bellator will give Glenn a bigger fight. He certainly has the record to warrant it, and he has earned his shot at a bigger event.
In his fight against Johnson, Glenn learned a few things about himself.
“I can take people down a little easier than I thought. I just felt stronger,” he said. “I just need little adjustments with my game, like stepping a little bit more when I go to kick, and other things like that.”
So, like any other fighter, Glenn has some improvements to make. But this kid is really confident in his game. That’s another huge quality that sets great fighters apart. He’s confident, not cocky. In fact, he’s very confident he would beat Horodecki.
“Striking might be pretty close, but, definitely, I’m a lot better at grappling, and I think I’m a lot stronger,” Glenn intimated. “I think he’d be a good match-up, you know, and he’s their number-one guy. I want to fight the best.”
But obviously, the best featherweights in the world are primarily in UFC. So, who would he like to fight inside the Octagon?
“I wouldn’t mind fighting Dustin Poirier, or ‘Korean Zombie’ [Chan Sung Jung]. That would be a good match-up, I think. I’d rather fight Korean Zombie, because he just beat Dustin Poirier,” Glenn said. “If Bellator wants me in there to fight, I’ll fight there. Definitely, the UFC is my dream. Ever since I started fighting, I wanted to be in the UFC.”
When it comes to a career in MMA, Glenn has simple motivators.
“It didn’t start out about the money, but it’s nice to be able to provide for your family. And, I definitely want to be number one someday.”
Family and glory are sometimes the best motivators. They are simple, easy to identify with, and really hit home on a daily basis.
Outside of MMA and his family, Glenn likes “to ride BMX a lot, trick biking, and that’s about it.”
While fighting and BMX might be his passions, it’s that primary motivator—his family—that truly defines Glenn.
“I’m a hardworking guy. I’m just a genuine person. I work hard, and I want to be successful. I love my family. I want to provide for my family.”
Seriously, what is not to like about this guy? He’s humble, focused, confident, dedicated and ready to make a run to the top. And at just 23, he has plenty of time to conquer the featherweight division and become the star gladiator in any coliseum, perhaps even one that features an eight-sided cage.
Photo: Rick Glenn (top) rains punches on his opponent (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)