Sometimes, an athlete just has to go where the wind takes him. If you’re a professional mixed martial artist in one of the lighter weight divisions, the wind typically blows west.
In many ways, whether or not people noticed, 2017 was a huge year for Urijah Faber’s Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, Calif. Whether it’s the cage return of Justin Buchholz, the meteoric rise of Cynthia Calvillo, or the many up-and-comers, including Benito Lopez and Joseph Morales, making big waves, a lot of “little” things have turned into a great year for the team.
While the loss of the UFC bantamweight title by Cody Garbrandt to former teammate T.J. Dillashaw has captured a lot of recent attention, the additions of Clay Guida a couple years ago and Rick Glenn this year have added some serious depth to the Alpha Male talent pool.
The Iowa native Glenn came from the Midwest. Like many fighters in the nation’s bread basket, he has moved around a bit. He started training in Des Moines, but eventually moved up to Milwaukee, where he spent time at a couple different camps before heading to California. It’s been about five months now, and Glenn and his wife Jenny are happy with their choice.
“We’re loving it,” Glenn told Combat Press. “We’re renting, like, a farm house, and there are some other ranches around us, but we’re right off the interstate, so it’s pretty easy to get to the gym.
“I’m getting everything dialed in. I’m acclimated with the team and growing. I’ve always wanted to be out here, and I can finally dedicate full-time to fighting.”
Prior to September 2016, Glenn was one of the best featherweights not in the UFC. He was 18-3-1 as a professional and had captured the World Series of Fighting featherweight title. He had finished all but two of his 18 wins in 22 fights. In the first half of 2016, he put together a couple wins on the regional circuit before early September rolled around and the injury bug knocked Abel Trujillo out of a lightweight showdown with Evan Dunham at UFC Fight Night 94. Glenn got the call on 12 days’ notice, and he gladly obliged.
Glenn showed up against Dunham 10 pounds heavier than his home division. While he dropped the fight by unanimous decision, Glenn put on one hell of a show. He earned his spot in the big show and got right back to his winning ways in his next outing.
In February, Glenn returned to 145 pounds and faced Phillipe Nover. Glenn picked up a split-decision win. In September, he stepped in against Gavin Tucker at UFC 215 and took that one on all three scorecards. Now, at the final UFC show of the 2017, Glenn has the opportunity to go 3-0 for the calendar year. He faces Myles Jury at UFC 219 in Las Vegas.
Jury hadn’t fought since 2015 due to injury, but he came back in April when he scored a TKO win over Mike De La Torre. Glenn is happy to face Jury, who is currently sitting at No. 14 in the UFC’s featherweight division.
“He’s been around for a little bit as well,” Glenn said. “I think he’s been in the UFC for a while, so he’s seen some veterans. It’s my turn to step in there and take some of the shine. I’m here for a reason. I’m going to stay and continue working super hard. I’m looking forward to climbing the ranks.”
While happy with his successes, Glenn knows he has a lot of improving to do. He is still young in the promotion. As stacked as the featherweight division currently is, he needs to keep pushing forward.
“I feel good, but I need to keep working hard,” Glenn admitted. “I’m not to where I know I can be, and when I get there, I hope I still continue working hard and keep evolving.
“I’m just training full-time. That’s what my focus is now. I have some little side gigs and things I’m working on, but I’m going to have to wait until after my fight to start dabbling in that.”
Glenn is still only 28 years old, but it’s never too early to start thinking about the future. When he was in Wisconsin, he was working in the tire shop at a local Costco. Now that he’s training full-time and doesn’t have a job tying him down, he’s able to think about life after MMA.
“There’s some realty stuff back home that I could get into,” Glenn said. “I’ve kept my eye on that for a while. There’s actually some dissolving drink tablets that I’ve been working on a formula for, and I’d like to launch that. It’s a healthy, sustainable energy source for anyone really. I’d like to make the most out of my career in the UFC, and use them as a platform to market myself and other things that I can benefit from.”
Glenn may have some things on the backburner that are geared toward his future, but right now, he’s all business. Jury is no easy fight. There was a lot of buzz around his potential after The Ultimate Fighter 15, and, like Glenn, he finishes most of his fights. Jury may have more Octagon experience, but Glenn walked in on 12 days’ notice and stood toe-to-toe with Dunham for three rounds in a heavier division. Glenn really wants fans to tune in for this one.
“You’re looking at two young, longtime MMA veterans,” he said. “We are young, but we’ve both been around for a while. We’re both Midwest guys who like to fight. I’m training hard, I know he’s training hard, and there’s a lot going into this. You should stay tuned, because it’s going to be a great fight.”