Hard work and dedication to his craft have paid off for 23-year-old Rick “The Gladiator” Glenn.

The Roufusport prospect, who was at one time cut from The Ultimate Fighter tryouts despite having a tremendous pro record for a youngster, inked a deal with arguably the biggest up-and-coming promotion, World Series of Fighting. This Saturday night, at WSOF 2 in Atlantic City, N.J., Glenn will finally get his chance to perform on a huge stage against an undefeated Brazilian fighter.

Glenn definitely deserves this shot on a bigger stage. In October at Score Fighting Series 6, he delivered one of the nastiest TKOs of 2012, disposing of Lyndon Whitlock at 2:34 of the third round. Before the fight, Glenn said that he had been working on the quickness of his striking, and that training obviously helped.

“I got a little snappier with my punches and my kicks,” said Glenn in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “I felt good. I kept hearing Ben [Askren] screaming, ‘Harder! Harder!’ So I knew I was about ready to finish him, you know, but he was a tough guy. I just had to keep fighting.”

Glenn looks to deliver a left hand (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)

That brutal stoppage may not have gotten Glenn his shot in the Octagon, but WSOF is no slouch. Although the promotion has only had one star-studded event so far, the card for its second installment is even bigger. Fans will get to see such veterans as Andrei Arlovski, Anthony Johnson and Josh Burkman, as well as a stable of up-and-comers that are sure to put on a great show.

In keeping with its track record so far, WSOF jumped at the chance to sign Glenn. He received the call about two months after his last fight.

“It was right around Christmas, actually,” stated Glenn. “I had tried to get in on the last couple UFC cards, last minute, but then they found one of their guys to fill in. I think this is a good move. It’s a big step up.

“They’re making a big-time explosion. They’re a huge promotion. It seems like they take care of their guys.”

Shortly after he signed with WSOF, Glenn was notified of his first opponent, Alexandre Pimentel.

Pimentel, who fights out of Nova Geracao Combate in Brazil, is a BJJ specialist who is 12-0 as a pro MMA fighter. He has finished six of his opponents by submission, two by TKO, and has gone the distance four times. Needless to say, he may not be a one-dimensional fighter, but his game is BJJ-heavy.

Glenn, on the other hand, is a more well-rounded fighter, with six of his wins coming by knockout, five by submission and only one via decision. Glenn is more of a finisher, and he can fight anywhere his opponent takes him.

“I think it’s a good match-up,” explained Glenn. “He kind of comes in wild for takedowns, and I’ve been working my wrestling a lot with Ben [Askren], so my wrestling’s been getting really solid. I’m pretty confident with the grappling. His expertise is obviously jiu-jitsu, so I just need to stay sharp.”

In addition to his wrestling skills, which have been generally proven to negate the effectiveness of BJJ takedown attempts, Glenn has also been working on his submission defense, should the fight make it to that point.

“I got to work with Diego and Daniel Moraes,” Glenn said. “So, they came down quite a bit, and they helped us out a lot with our jiu-jitsu. We have a few other black belts in our gym.”

Nobody has ever questioned the quality of any training coming out of the Duke Roufus camp, but the fact that the Moraes brothers have been coming to train is significant. Daniel Moraes is a BJJ black belt under Master Royler Gracie and Marcelo Clemente. He is also a two-time World champion, Pan-American champion, and three-time Brazilian No Gi National champion, in addition to holding a dozen other accolades. His brother, Diego, is also a black belt, and both of them are Relson Gracie-affiliated instructors that have been training a lot of top UFC fighters for quite some time.

While Glenn will probably never get to the level of jiu-jitsu that the brothers Moraes have achieved, he couldn’t have two better guys in his corner in preparing for the bag of tricks that Pimentel will certainly bring to the table.

Glenn has tremendous confidence going into this fight, regardless of his opponent’s record. He visualizes the fight going down one way.

“I see a stoppage,” predicts Glenn. “I always want to stop the person, but maybe late in the fight.

“I think I do pretty good against the rush. The harder they come in at me, the harder they’re going to get hit. If he wants to come in hard, hopefully it will be an even quicker stoppage. I definitely see myself winning.”

Excellent BJJ training or not, Glenn is going to let his hands do the talking.

After he finishes Pimentel, Glenn plans to stay in WSOF action for at least two years, per the terms of his contract.

“I have five fights in two years,” explained Glenn. “I’m hoping to get four in this year. I saw something where they have a deal with NBC Sports and they have to do a minimum of six events a year. If I can get on as many as they put on, that’s the plan. I’d like to put on a good show, so they want me back soon.

“They’re next one will be in Vegas on June 14, so that’s the plan, to get on that card.”

At only 23 years old, that kind of pace will earn Glenn a Miguel Torres-type of record by the time he’s 30, and he acts like it’s not a problem at all. The drive he carries is that of a man possessed. This seems to be a big theme at the Roufus camp as of late.

Glenn (top) rains punches on his opponent (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)

The night before Glenn’s WSOF debut, his teammate Mike Rhodes will be facing the always-dangerous Brandon Thatch in the main event of RFA 7 in Broomfield, Colo. in what is sure to be a barnburner. Rhodes is coming in undefeated as a pro, but Thatch only has one loss and has been training with UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre for a couple of his recent fights.

The biggest recent development out of the Roufus camp, and one of the biggest 2012 announcements in the UFC, was that Anthony Pettis will be dropping to 145 pounds to face featherweight champ Jose Aldo in August for the UFC title.

This was crazy news, considering that Pettis had just knocked out fellow lightweight contender Donald Cerrone with a mean first-round liver kick, which will probably go down as the most devastating body kick in UFC history. That knockout easily earned him a lightweight title shot at Ben Henderson, but he probably didn’t feel like waiting in line behind Gilbert Melendez, who got his shot through the merger of UFC and Strikeforce.

Pettis, at featherweight, will be a fierce contender, and Glenn said there’s been some fun talk going around between the fellow featherweights.

“He’s been calling me out a little bit, since he said he’s coming down to 145,” Glenn joked. “Anthony’s been messing around with me, calling me out. So, we’ve been going at it pretty good.”

Will Pettis and Glenn see each other in the Octagon one day?

Only time will tell. But, for now, these two teammates will certainly work as hard as they can to prepare each other for their respective rises to the top.

In addition to his gym life, Glenn has always been a very respectful, family-oriented fighter who has faced some recent adversity on the home front, and it always seems to come during a training camp.

Going into his last fight in October, Glenn’s father suffered a stroke. Glenn, the consummate family man, took some time out of training to visit his father while he was in recovery. With his father doing better now, adversity has struck the Glenn family again.

“It’s crazy, man. My sister now is having back problems,” Glenn explained. “My dad was in the hospital before my last fight, and now my sister. She’s fourteen, and she’s got a cancerous tumor on her spine. It’s been growing for a while, and she can’t walk right now. They’re going to start radiation. Sunday, we went back to Iowa and saw her, but she’s in good hands.”

Glenn plans to get back home to visit his sister as soon as he can.

“We were back at Christmas, then this last Sunday to see her, and then we’ll go back after the fight.”

Once again, in another unfortunate turn of events, Glenn has a lot on his mind going into his next fight. However, if he marries his amazing talent as a fighter with the love he has for his family outside the ring, the world will once again see fireworks fly.

Glenn plans to do to Pimentel what he did to Whitlock, and this will be a fight that is not to be missed.

“I’m coming ready, and I want to put on a good show and finish my opponent. I hope everyone enjoys the show.”

The MMA Corner’s thoughts and prayers go out to Rick Glenn’s family in hopes for his sister’s speedy recovery.

Top Photo: Rick Glenn (Paul Fladten/Sherdog)