Rick Glenn made a bold decision last year, but it has finally paid off.
After a stoppage victory at WSOF 24 last October, Glenn, a former WSOF featherweight champion, requested his release from the promotion to pursue a career in the UFC. WSOF obliged.
But the UFC didn’t come calling right away. Meanwhile, Glenn won two fights on the regional circuit as a free agent. And still nothing. “The Gladiator” started to worry. Had he made a mistake by leaving WSOF?
“I’ve had my doubts,” Glenn told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “There’s been some close calls where I thought I was gonna get in on some last-minute fights, but it never ended up happening. So I was definitely starting to doubt my chances. But I obviously never gave up.”
A large handful of people Glenn knew thought it was crazy he chose to depart from WSOF. They had a valid point, though — Glenn has lost out on a lot of money since leaving the promotion, according to the Iowa native.
Looking back, he said that that was the toughest decision he has had to make in his veteran fighting career. He talked it over with his teammates, friends and family for weeks.
“A month or two ago, my wife and I were talking at the dinner table. I was like, ‘Sh-t, maybe I need to hit up World Series again and get back in there. See if they’ll pick me up.’ I was getting pretty close to contacting them again and seeing if they were interested.”
Glenn has finally gotten the good news he had been hoping for for a long, long time. Earlier this week, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva offered him and his management team a short notice bout against Evan Dunham scheduled for next week. Glenn obviously accepted.
After a 10-year career without a UFC fight under his belt, he’ll finally get a chance inside the Octagon, which he believes is long overdue.
Glenn said that the biggest emotion he felt after being signed to the UFC was relief. Considering the fact that he left WSOF without anything on the table, that makes sense.
“I yelled a little bit,” he said. “I was in the back of the warehouse — Costco is where I work. I’m like, ‘Yeah! Hell yeah!’ Got changed, ran to the shop, gave a couple of my co-workers a high five, ran out.”
If he hadn’t received a UFC contract within the next year or so, Glenn said that he likely would have stepped away from the sport.
“I probably would have hung the gloves up and moved on and focused more on my family,” he said. “When you’re dedicated to a sport like this, you kind of put a lot of stuff on the back-burner. And you don’t realize until later down the road when years have passed.”
Glenn, unlike most newly-signed UFC athletes, isn’t giddy at the thought of leaving his day job after a fight or two inside the Octagon.
“Honestly, I enjoy the work there,” he said. “Maybe I’d go to part-time. I mean, the benefits are great. I like working with the people. It’s something that’s a little more secure I guess than fighting. I’ve been fighting for over 10 years now and working all kinds of different jobs. I can’t even tell you how many different jobs I’ve had.”
A lot of people believe that fighters need to focus 100 percent on their combat sports career and can’t work a job outside of fighting to be successful in the cage. But Glenn doesn’t think that’s true.
“That’s tough, because everyone has a different work ethic. I’m not saying I’m a harder worker than most of the other fighters, but there’s plenty of time to get a couple solid training sessions in and still work at least a part-time job, or something. You have other hobbies. Fighting’s not the only thing that I do. I’m a hard worker — I can get my training in and work full-time still.”
Glenn is moving up to the lightweight division for his debut, which he was more than willing to do. In fact, he might stay at 155 pounds for the rest of his career. The IV ban could be a deciding factor. The 27-year-old fought at lightweight in the early days of his career, and feels “a lot healthier at that weight.”
That said, he made featherweight “unusually easy” ahead of his last few fights, so he still has some thinking to do after his debut regarding which division will be his home moving forward. Glenn isn’t positive at to why his weight cuts have been relatively easy over the past year or so, but he has some ideas.
“I’ve changed the way I eat,” he said. “My wife and I eat primarily a vegan diet. I don’t know if that’s it or something mentally. But it’s weird, because I really don’t get hungry anymore. I can go all day and forget to eat. I’m always good about eating, though. We have to eat as athletes. You need to fuel your body, so I do. But I could easily go a couple days without eating and not think anything of it.”
Glenn fights Dunham on the main card of UFC Fight Night 94, which goes down from the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas on Sept. 17.