For Rick Glenn, one of the brightest upcoming featherweight prospect, the battle he's planning to face this upcoming weekend is nothing compared to the war being raged back home.
The bumps and bruises, even potential tears and breaks suffered in the cage stand don't hold a candle to 14-year old sister Aubry Glenn's battle against brain cancer.
"The Gladiator" knows it's not fair, life never is, and he's done his best, trained his hardest to go out on Saturday night (Sept. 14, 2013) and put on the absolute best performance possible against undefeated opponent Artur Rofi in the final bout of the World Series of Fighting 5 preliminary card in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Glenn's tried his best to keep his mind distracted, delving deep into training harder than he's ever gone, even growing his hair out into a ridiculous mullet hairstyle. Laughs are hard to come by, but they're very welcome.
A victory for Glenn on Saturday night could do great things for his career, considering the Roufusport fighter is unbeaten in his last 11 bouts and is coming off an incredible come-from-behind performance to score a third round knockout in his WSOF debut this pats March.
Glenn spoke to MMAmania.com about the championship atmosphere in his gym, what he learned about himself in his comeback performance and the battles family members are waging back home in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Okay, before we get to anything else, tell me about this bitching mullet you're sporting heading into this upcoming fight.
Rick Glenn: You know about that? I just wanted to do something fun and it's just something fun to do. People get a laugh out of it. I think it's fun but I'm going to cut it right after my fight though because my wife hates it (laughs). It ain't gonna be on too much longer. It's definitely toughing my traps, getting down to my shoulders. My mullet makes me feel vicious. It's not just a haircut, it's a lifestyle (laughs)
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I heard the Team Alpha Male guys came down to your gym for UFC 164 and you had a chance to work with Urijah Faber, T.J. Dillashaw and Chad Mendes. That must have been a nice change of pace. What did you take from that experience?
Rick Glenn: It's always good to train with new faces at the gym. I'd trained with Urijah in Chicago at Carlson Gracie's gym and that was good right before his last fight. It was good to see and train with those guys though.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I was up there for UFC 164 and that place exploded when Anthony Pettis won the title. What's the mood been like in the gym this past week knowing you've got a UFC champion in your midst?
Rick Glenn: It hasn't really hit anyone yet. We've still been working kind of the same. We still had two teammates that lost. Today we did a bunch of striking stuff and our coach Duke Roufus, he's always on us with the good stuff and especially the stuff we're weak at. We were doing all kinds of stuff that Erik [Koch] could have done different in his fight. We worked on that and he still stays pretty hard on us.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'd like to touch on your relationship with Erik Koch. You originally met up with him after training together in Cedar Rapids, I believe?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, I was driving up there for school. I lived about an hour and a half away and I was driving up to Cedar Rapids to go to college and I was training there. Most of the week I'd stay up there and I met him there and we just kind of hooked up and talked and he came up here to Roufusport for a while and I wanted to keep improving so I eventually came up here.
If I didn't move up here, I wouldn't have progressed as much as I have. The coaching up here is world class so it's helped me out a lot.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Everyone talks about the great talent coming out of the Roufusport gym, with Anthony, Erik, Chico and Pascal, but the next wave of hype is around you and Sergio Pettis. People are saying you're the next two guys making waves. What do you think about that?
Rick Glenn: It's nice that all the hard work is starting to pay off. It helps that we've got the UFC champ in the gym now too so I'm working with some elite guys. What helps me stay grounded is we always have something to work on, no matter who we're fighting, how good we are or what anyone is saying about us. The coaches are really keeping us humble and making sure there's something to keep improving.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about your last fight. Alexandre Pimentel had your number in the first two rounds but you came out on fire in the third and scored the big knockout. Can you talk a little bit about that comeback performance?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, boy he was trying to submit me and I was just trying to make him think he'd get something so he'd get tired. (laughs) Actually, he had me pretty tight in the choke but I just hung on there and when I got to my feet, my coaches were calling for the combination and I threw a 1-2 high. That was one of the mistakes I did in that fight. Maybe I could have thrown more kicks, but done them a little different. I was facing a left and I haven't fought many of those. I threw the 1-2 high, I kind of stunned him and the punches and hooks I'd been working on with the coaches were tight and I caught him with a sneaky hook and he dropped. When I saw it, I knew I had to pounce on him and I just jumped on him.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Did you learn anything about yourself, that you were able to get through adversity in the first couple rounds and be able to come back like that?
Rick Glenn: Well I learned some things I needed to work on, footwork, regular little things you have to work on even if you win, just so I don't get put in that situation again. Coach Duke Roufus told me, if I'm ever having a hard day or if I'm down in a fight, just think about that fight and remember how I was down on the scorecards and just kept fighting.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): I'd love to talk about how you get into character. You're talking to me like a regular guy, very calm and reserved, but once you put that gladiator mask on and make the walk to the cage, you're a complete different person. Can you talk to me about getting into that fight mode? When does it start? What does it feel like once you take that mask off and you're ready to roll?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, I'm usually pretty laid back. Even in the locker room before a fight, we're pretty loose and joking around back there. Once I'm ready to walk out, I get the helmet on and the helmet just kind of prepares me for battle. Once it's on, I just flip the switch and I'm raring to go.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You're facing an undefeated fighter, Artur Rofi. He's undefeated and a pretty solid guy. What's your thought process heading into a fight like this? Is this a fight that can put you on the map?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, it's gonna be good to have another win from an undefeated fighter. He's a prospect. I know he's got good jiu-jitsu. I think he's a brown belt and he comes out raw and brings the fight so we've been working on a lot of things to match up with him, just stay focused, go out there and stick to the gameplan.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): What do you expect from yourself at this point?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, I just want to go out there and keep winning. Of course I'd love a finish and stuff, but they don't always happen. I just need to keep winning, with the level I'm getting at. I have to win.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Do you almost feel like you have to win. I've heard about stuff back home with your sister being sick. Is that something that's really pushing you to perform at your best?
Rick Glenn: Yeah, oh yeah. She's battling brain cancer so she doesn't have too much time and she's 14. She's fighting hard. My grandma was diagnosed with lung cancer and she has it in her bones so she's fighting and that's gonna make me fight even harder. They have to fight for their life.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): That's definitely a tough thing to go through, but you've found the right way to channel it, it seems.
Rick Glenn: Yeah, just staying busy. I've trained a lot harder or this fight than any fight I've trained for just to keep it off my mind.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): It probably sucks then that these media guys keep bringing it up.
Rick Glenn: (laughs) Yeah.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Alright Rick, in a perfect world, how would you like this upcoming fight against Artur Rofi to play out?
Rick Glenn: He comes at me hard. I hit him with a big left and drop him and just ground and pound finish him. That'd be perfect.
Rick would like to thank his sponsor New Blood Fight Gear, White-Out Promotions, all his coaches at Roufusport and World Series of Fighting for helping keep him busy. You can follow him on Twitter @GladiatorGlenn.