In the days before the UFC officially announced the Grant Dawson vs Bobby Green bout as the headliner for this Saturday’s fight night card in Las Vegas, a look at the lineup produced several intriguing options in addition to the eventual main event.
One of them was the lightweight matchup between Ricky Glenn and Drew Dober.
“We've both been around for a while, two tough Midwesterners,” he said. “I remember we fought on the same card back in 2009 when he made his pro debut. And I thought, you know what, he's pretty good. I bet I'll meet him someday.”
Things didn’t go too well for Iowa’s Glenn and Nebraska’s Dober in those early days, with Glenn starting out at 3-2 and Dober 1-2. But eventually, they hit their groove, and heading into this weekend at the APEX, Dober is approaching his 10th anniversary as a UFC fighter, with Glenn right behind him at seven years in the big show. So, they’ve paid their dues, and given their styles, an explosive matchup is practically guaranteed. And while “The Gladiator” isn’t necessarily the sentimental type, eventually seeing his face on the fight poster wouldn’t be a bad thing.
“Honestly, I thought I’d be a lot further along in my career than I am now,” he said. “Unfortunately, I had some injuries and stuff that you know about, but I want to main event some shows, I want to be ranked, I want to be getting some Sean O'Malley money.”
Glenn laughs, just before I ask him when he’s going to get his hair dyed, “Sugar Sean” style.
“I'll go do it right now.”
Then he talks me off the ledge.
“I'd probably do the mullet again before the hair dye.”
And all is well in the world again, and we’re back to fighting, which is something Glenn has been itching to do since his April loss to Christos Giagos. That one stung, especially coming off the heels of an 18-month injury-induced layoff following his draw with Dawson in October of 2021.
“Even before we got matched up, I was pretty antsy,” said Glenn. “I accepted a fight with Jamie Malarkey, Brad Riddell. I threw my name in for Jim Miller. So there were three different fights that ended up just not happening and so I've been pumped up ever since my last fight. I took a week off after my last one, which I unfortunately lost. So I've been pumped up ever since, looking for some redemption.”
When you’ve got over 17 years in the sport like Glenn does, dealing with setbacks isn’t a complicated issue. You let the sting wear off, get back to the gym, and move forward. In 31 pro fights, Glenn has never lost two in a row, and he’s not planning on starting a new trend against Dober.
“It's a process,” he said. “You're going to go through the motions for a week or two, but it ain't going to do me any good pouting about it and being all upset, I better just get in the gym and work on my weaknesses.”
Add in a couple of weekend camping trips, and Glenn’s mind was right as he started the road back. At 34, he’s still young enough to make a run, but old enough to know what pitfalls to avoid on that road. That’s a good place for any fighter to be in. Kind of reminds you of Doc Holliday’s response in the movie Tombstone when asked if he was retired.
“Not me, I’m in my prime.”
That’s Ricky Glenn in October of 2023.
“Yeah, everything's flowing pretty good,” he said. “I feel pretty strong. My endurance is the best it's ever been. I feel like I'm on another level, especially when I go out to the mountains. I go out to Colorado and do some hiking, and the guys that are with me are really struggling and they're athletes. I’m thinking, ‘Damn, this is nothing.’ And then you put that into perspective and you're like, I'm on a whole other level now and it gives me goosebumps thinking about it. It's pretty cool being consistent over the years where it's really paying off.”
And the ultimate payoff for Glenn?
“The same reason I started - I want to be a champion. I want to be a respected champion and inspire people to go after their goals, and I want to see it through. I want to see it through until I'm completely done. And I know I can be champion if I just be the man I know I am.”
UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs Green took place live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 7, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!