Photo: James Law/GLORY Sports International

Schiller Park, Ill.–GLORY welterweight, Richard Abraham (11-3) is one driven individual. He has dedicated his life to being the best he can be both inside the ring where he faces some of the best welterweight kickboxers on the planet, and outside of it, where he is a husband and father of five children.

Abraham, 31, takes on GLORY newcomer Antoine Pinto (130-36-1) at GLORY 38 on Friday at Sears Centre Arena and chances are Pinto has logged more training time than the Illinois native. You see, Abraham doesn’t train full time because his life simply doesn’t allow for it. His training regimen is just one piece of his daily balancing act divided up between running his Muay Thai gym, Maximus Muay Thai, spending time with his family and his rare and unusual day gig: working as a tombstone engraver.

“It’s a family business,” Abraham told MMA Plus after finishing his pad session at the GLORY 38 open work outs, sweat still dripping off his nose and on to the floor in front of him. “There is no school for that. Since I was a kid, 12-years-old, my grandparents owned a monument shop and the cemetery lettering kind of followed and it’s a very unique job and you have to be taught by someone. It allows me the freedom to pursue this goal and dream of mine.”

Richard Abraham honoring the memory of Maximus

The fuel that stokes Abraham’s fire to achieve greatness is the memory of his deceased son Maximus, who died only five days after being born. No parent should ever have to bury a child. And the grief can be impossible to overcome for many who have had suffered the unfortunate experience of losing a son or daughter. But somehow Abraham has turned the loss of his son into a positive by honoring Maximus with everything single thing he does and every move that he makes.

“I fight for him,” said Abraham, who revealed his story in a recent episode of “Inside GLORY,” which took an in depth look at his personal life. “I fight for my family, my wife, my kids, my friends. I represent not a large, but smaller group of people. We are just very dedicated. We are all good people. We are all hard-working people that come together and this is the finished product.”

Abraham says “sleep is overrated” when mentioning his daily routine, which begins before dawn with training sessions and concludes after etching the names of dead people into tomb stones for several hours. So how does he do it day after day? How does he find the energy to keep pushing not only to support his family, but to chase his dream of capturing the GLORY welterweight title?

“It’s really just the will,” says Abraham, who has now won four straight fights in GLORY, including the GLORY 30 “Qualifier” tournament. “My will and my desire is there. I really believe that if there is something you want to do in this life you are going to do it. If not, you are going to make an excuse. That is the bottom line. Even though I have a million things going on, businesses to run and family. I have a lot of personal responsibilities and I still choose to do this because it’s what I love to do. I really want my son’s name out there and to really dedicate myself even more.”

As the saying goes, of course, behind every good man is a good woman. And Abraham has that in his wife Kelly, who fully supports him in every way not just as a loving wife, but as a huge helping hand in his fighting career.

“She sets up all these interviews and all this stuff,” he explains. “She sets up everything. If not for here I’d be fighting in tiny shows in like Thailand or something. She organizes everything, handles all my paperwork, interviews, medicals. She is the backbone of me and without her you wouldn’t see me today.”

Abraham discusses Antoine Pinto and his Thai style

The goal for 2017, he says, is to fight for the GLORY welterweight title. But first he has to get past Pinto, who has won multiple Muay Thai titles and has a significant edge in fight experience.

When asked about his opponent, Abraham offered a big smile before giving his answer.

“He’s just real pretty,” he said. “He’s a real pretty guy. He’s more of a Thai style. I’m a more complete fighter. I just believe in my work ethic and my team. I never really try to focus on my opponents. I just focus on myself and this version of me. I’m very happy with it and I’m proud of it. I’m excited to get in there on Friday.”

Should he get the win over Pinto, is there a tombstone in his gym where he etches the names of the men he’s defeated?

“People always say that, but I try to be humble and respectful. Usually I tell people if they are being mean that I’m going to misspell their name [on their tombstone] and I will get the last laugh.”