As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.Charlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman is the focus in this week's installment of the MMAPlayground Interview Series.
Charlie is a former collegiate wrestler with a current overall MMA record of 14-2-0, with his only losses coming against current UFC contender, Johny Hendricks (in 2010) and UFC vet, John "Doomsday" Howard (in 2008). "The Spaniard" kindly took time out of his busy schedule earlier this week to answer some questions for MMAPlayground.
* * * * *MMAPG:
First off, Charlie, I know it’s been a while now, but congrats on that brilliant victory over Rick Story back in June. To say you took that fight on short notice would be quite the understatement. My question is this…was there any hesitation on yours or your team’s part when it came to accepting the fight? Can you give us a bit of insight on what your thought process was when you received that call?
(SIDENOTE: For those who aren’t aware, Charlie took the fight on a day’s notice once Nate Marquardt was scratched from the UFC Live: Kongo vs. Barry card.)BRENNEMAN:
There was no doubt at all. I was prepared to fight (TJ Grant), and it was a golden opportunity, so we took it without any hesitation.MMAPG:
Can you give our readers, who may not know much about you, a little background information on yourself? Where exactly did you grow up and how did you get into MMA?BRENNEMAN:
I have been a wrestler my entire life. After finishing up college wrestling at Lock Haven University, I got a job teaching Spanish in my hometown, Hollidaysburg, PA. I taught for three years, but felt a need to compete again. I then got a graduate assistantship at East Stroudsburg University, where I got my Master's, and pursued fighting. That lead me to AMA Fight Club in NJ.MMAPG:
What do you consider to be the driving factor to succeed in your career? Who or what inspires you to hit the gym every day?BRENNEMAN:
I have an innate need to compete and succeed, to challenge myself. What drove me back to competing (after wrestling) was my time on Spike TV's "Pros vs. Joes". I won the reality tv show, and it was at that time I realized I had control of the mental aspect of competition. I had always been successful at wrestling, but the mental game was always a challenge. My desire to be the best, and to provide for my family get me to the gym everyday.MMAPG:
Can you give us a brief breakdown on what a typical day at AMA Fight Club is like? BRENNEMAN:
I train every aspect of the game. I seek out the best instructors and training partners. We have a great team at AMA, and in addition, I have a great boxing coach, Mark Henry, and strength and conditioning coach, Don Messing. MMAPG:
Every gym has the “goofball”…who would you consider to be the goofball at AMA?BRENNEMAN:
There's plenty of "goofballs" in the sport. AMA is pretty standard, not many goofballs to be honest. We do have our fair share of weirdos though :)MMAPG:
How much down time do you actually have between training camps for your fights and what do you do during that time off from the gym?BRENNEMAN:
It all depends on the UFC. I normally take a week or two off after my fights, and then get right back at it. Of course, my intensity changes depending on my fight schedule.MMAPG:
John Howard or Johny Hendricks…which loss would you prefer to avenge and why?BRENNEMAN:
Hendricks probably, but neither one really eats away at me. I lost fair and square to both of them. Unlike many other people in the sport, I do not make excuses.MMAPG:
You’re fighting Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC on Versus 6. How do you see that fight playing out? Care to make a prediction? BRENNEMAN:
I predict that I will push the pace and see if he is up to the challenge.MMAPG:
And finally…what do you want to be remembered for when it's all said and done and you call it a career?BRENNEMAN:
I just want to fulfill my potential as a fighter. The sky is the limit, and I want to walk away from the sport w/ peace of mind knowing that I left nothing in question. When I'm done, I want to be done, period, no if's or but's.MMAPG:
Thank you, Charlie, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to hook us up with this interview. The staff at MMAPlayground.com would like to wish the best of luck to you against Anthony Johnson on October 1st!
* * * * *Follow @SpaniardMMA on TwitterCharlie "The Spaniard" Brenneman on Sherdog.comDISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.