It’s been a short, but extremely difficult ride to the top for Charlie Brenneman. After putting together a successful amateur wrestling career in high school and winning the first season of Pros vs. Joes in 2006, Brenneman entered MMA in 2007. He won eleven of his first twelve bouts before getting the call from the UFC.
On June 26, 2011, “The Spaniard” went from relatively unknown welterweight to a star overnight thanks to a hard-working performance in victory against a very tough Rick Story in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In an interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com, Brenneman said, “(The win over Story) was the epitome of all the hard work that I put into the sport and life in general.”
Things didn’t go so well for Brenneman in his next bout in October though, as he was defeated in just two minutes and 49 seconds at the hands and feet of Anthony Johnson. “I was disappointed with the fight,” said Brenneman. “I was disappointed that I wasn’t really able to showcase anything. The way the fight developed, I had nothing to show. I didn’t really do anything. I didn’t do anything good and it was frustrating after all the work I put into it.”
Charlie will get a chance at redemption on January 20, when he meets Daniel Roberts in Nashville. Despite the fact that Roberts is coming off two straight losses and Brenneman has fought two highly-ranked welterweights, defeating one of them, he’s not upset with the match up. “I just take it one fight at the time,” said Charlie. “I look more at the individual match up than the name recognition. I’m really excited for it because this match up is really good. I’ve been evolving as a fighter and I really like this fight because I think it’ll make us reach in our back pocket and see what we’ve developed.”
Along with working on his technical skills, Charlie has been reading “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle in order to sharpen his mental game and connect his body to his mind.
“If you’re ready psychically but if you’re out of it mentally, it doesn’t matter one bit.”
One thing that does matter to the Pennsylvania native is his friends and family. No matter where he fights, you can bet that he’ll have a pocket of supporters cheering him on in the crowd, usually making more noise than the rest of the crowd. “I am very fortunate,” said Brenneman. “I have a lot of friends and family who make the trip. This fight in Tennessee will actually be my smallest crowd. I think we only have about 25 or 30 people. I’ve had a lot of people come to a lot of my fights.”
At UFC 141, Johny Hendricks KO’d long-time top welterweight Jon Fitch. That win, along with a victory by Jake Ellenberger over Jake Shields earlier in the year, showed the evolution of a new crop of talented welterweights. Charlie weighed in with his thoughts on the state of the 170 pounders saying, “There’s definitely a changing of the guard. I think Ellenberger is right at the top of the heap, even beyond Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit, even though he lost to Condit. I think he’s a front-runner. We just had the Hendricks knockout as well. I wouldn’t doubt that if Ellenberger wins his next fight we could see him vs. Hendricks in a #1 contender fight.”
Brenneman holds an overall record of 14-3 with five TKOs and past wins inside the Octagon against Amilcar Alves and Jason High.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC