Hard work and perseverance can pay off early in life, even for young athletes. It’s all about hunkering down, putting in the time and getting the job done. Just ask Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn.

In January 2011, Glenn was on a whopping two-fight winning streak, with a 5-2 record, when he won the Midwest Cage Championship featherweight title. He was only 21 years old and was already a champion. Now, 10 fights and zero losses later, the 25-year-old Marshalltown, Iowa, native is in line for a shot at the World Series of Fighting featherweight strap.

Glenn (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Glenn (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Glenn entered the promotion at WSOF 2 against a stiff competitor in then-undefeated Alexandre Pimentel, who was 12-0 at the time. The Roufusport standout knocked out the Brazilian early in the third round. Next up was Artur Rofi at WSOF 5, last September. Rofi fights out of a Renzo Gracie affiliate in New Jersey, the state where the fight took place, so the crowd was hostile. Regardless of the noise, Glenn took a unanimous decision in his first fight to go the distance in almost two years. The young man was not thrilled about going three full rounds.

“It was alright,” Glenn told The MMA Corner. “I wish I would’ve finished the guy. I think I was trying too hard to knock him out.”

Well, a win is a win, and this one earned Glenn a one-way ticket to a WSOF title fight. He takes on the champion, Georgi Karakhanyan, this Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The bout will serve as the co-main event of WSOF 10 in the fight capital of the world. Karakhanyan is four years the elder of Glenn, and he is on a nine-fight winning streak of his own.

“He’s athletic, I guess,” said Glenn. “He’s pretty well rounded. I did some research on him when he got signed to WSOF. He’s a good opponent. I’m looking forward to it.”

Karakhanyan, who was born in Moscow, is a former pro soccer player who fights out of Millennia MMA in Riverside, Calif., home to guys like Darrell Montague, Saad Awad, Lorenz Larkin and Manny Tapia. He holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and took out Team Alpha Male’s Lance Palmer at WSOF 7 to earn the featherweight strap.

“I think the match-up is great,” Glenn intimated. “It’s great for me, you know? He’s a top opponent. It’s a good match-up for me.

“I’m not going to bad mouth him and stuff, but once we get going, I’m going to bring it.”

Karakhanyan’s last fight was in December. Meanwhile, Glenn hasn’t been in the cage for nine months for a variety of reasons, including some family health issues. However, the Roufusport fighter has been on top of his game the entire time.

“I’ve been training out at Next Level, this sports performance place,” Glenn explained. “They’ve been getting me stronger and more explosive. I’ve been working a lot of privates with the coaches on striking and jiu-jitsu stuff and wrestling. Everything’s been stepped up a bunch.

“I’ve also been training with this really good wrestler—an old teammate of Max and Ben Askren—Josh Wagner.”

With the stable of champions at Duke Roufus’s gym in Milwaukee, there is no doubt that Glenn’s level of training has been up there with the best in the sport. With guys like the Pettis brothers, Erik Koch and many other top-level fighters, Glenn is always in good hands. Plus, he’s had plenty of time to prepare.

“I knew this fight was going to happen for a long time, but we just weren’t sure of the day,” stated Glenn. “I found out maybe two or three months ago.”

Glenn (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)

Glenn (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)

Following too many long layoffs in the past, Glenn does not plan to be on the bench very long after this fight.

“I want to get back in a couple months or so,” said Glenn, who has two fights left on his current WSOF contract. “I’m feeling healthy—you know, stuff happens with family and stuff, that’s why I had to back out the first time, but everything’s good.”

In the meantime, Glenn stays active, even when he’s not training. With a wife, a house, a carpet-cleaning job and two Italian Mastiffs, there’s always plenty to do.

“I built a fence in our yard last week to keep our dogs in,” said the father of two huge pups. “I replaced a small fence that my wife was really worried about. I’ve just been working a lot. I took off this week. Trying to hang out with friends whenever I can.”

Carpenter, carpet cleaner, personal trainer, husband, dog owner, home owner and, oh yes, professional fighter. Glenn has never been a guy with an empty plate, but, right now, the young contender is hungry as hell and ready to make a statement at WSOF 10 on Saturday night. His hard work is sure to pay off.

“I’m a bad ass…Ha ha! No, seriously, I’m ready to kick ass, take names and put on a good show.”

Glenn would like to thank all of his family, friends, coaches and training partners at Roufusport. He would also like to thank his sponsors: New Blood Fight Gear, White Out Promotions, Next Level Sports Performance, Sports Plus, Metro Chiropractic, Calvin Rocket, Hutton Valley School of Taxidermy, Central Media, Swole Sports, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and shaylasvegas.com. Follow Rick on Twitter: @GladiatorGlenn