Losing can change an individual for better or for worse. In the UFC, losing can either cause a fighter to throw in the white towel or provide added motivation.
Enter Charlie Brenneman.
After shocking the world in his unanimous decision victory over Rick Story, Brenneman found himself on the receiving end of a vicious head kick. Brenneman would fall for just the third time in his career to Anthony Johnson at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson.
But Brenneman showed the world the best is yet to come, as he picked apart fellow UFC welterweight Daniel Roberts in his most recent bout at UFC on FX 1.
Brenneman recently sat down with Bleacher Report to discuss his return to stardom, his upcoming bout against Erick Silva and more.
Garrett Derr: You bounced back in impression fashion in your recent win over Daniel Roberts. In my opinion, it was one of your more dominant fights. What did it mean for your career to bounce back the way you did? What were your feelings at the time?
Charlie Brenneman: Anytime you lose one fight in the UFC, you kind of have to feel like you are on the chopping block. There is so much competition in this sport. I lost to Anthony Johnson and knew I needed a win. I dominated Daniel Roberts and I was happy with the way that fight went.
But, at the same time, I was disappointed and really wanted to show the other dimensions of my game. I failed to do that.
GD: If you really break down the fight, he landed just three significant strikes compared to your 24. You also put him on his back a few times. What do you think the difference maker was in your dominant performance compared to your previous loss to Anthony Johnson?
CB: In the Johnson fight, my game plan didn't change much. You know, fundamentally I am a wrestler and like being on top and I like my grounding and pounding. Against Johnson, I was forcing too many takedowns.
I think I was so conscious and concerned about his standup that I was pretty much just diving at his leg for the take down. I wasn't taking the necessary time to set up my shots. In the Daniel Roberts fight, I was able to set it all up and time my takedowns much better.
GD: You'll now be taking on Erick Silva, one of the up-and-coming welterweights in the UFC today. As you know, he's coming off a disqualification loss to Carlo Prater. I'm wondering if you saw the fight and if you believe he deserved to be given the loss?
CB: Yes, I saw the fight. I was very impressed, to be honest, and no, I don't think he deserved to be given the loss. There are so many incidental strikes to the back of the head. It wasn't anything major. If you watch the Vitor Belfort and Akiyama fight, I think that was a little more drastic than Silva's loss.
GD: Silva is a real well-rounded fighter and has been known to finish the majority of his opponents. So, what have you done differently this time around to prepare for an opponent like him?
CB: He's got some very good tendencies. What impresses me the most about him is his killer instinct. If I happen to get rocked or should I be in danger, I know that I need to be aware of where he's at because I know he's going in for the kill.
I've been working on defending some of his skills from my feet. I can't go into too much detail in terms of my offensive and defense attack, but mainly it's keeping my hands up, keep moving and not staying flat-footed.
GD: Your conditioning skills and his finishing power will have to clash at some point. What can we expect to see in terms of an outcome?
CB: I kind of doubt it'll be a decision, to be honest. I think if I'm able to impose my will, things will go as planned. I think you're right, I'm going into this thinking and hoping he can't keep up with my conditioning. That it will be too much for his pace. I've been wrong before [laughing]. Hopefully nothing negative happens. But, I think my conditioning will eventually break him.
GD: You guys will be the second-to-last fight on the FX card, essentially making your bout the co-main event. What does it mean to you to have this opportunity to showcase your skills on national television?
CB: It's pretty awesome, you know. This sport is so fickle. One day you are the hero and the next day you are the zero. I got to take advantage of every opportunity that I have. To have something like this is a great opportunity. I need to make the most of these opportunities.
GD: You're obviously very close with the Miller brothers and Jim is coming off a tough loss to Nate Diaz. Have you spoken to him since the loss? How is he doing?
CB: I really haven't seen or talked to Jim since his loss, to be honest. He's been in the gym a couple times here and there. He broke something in one of his ankles, so he hasn't been back on the mat. He is the epitome of a fighter. He'll heal, regroup and bounce back. He's just taking some time off right now.
GD: After you guys finish up, Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall will take the Octagon for the main event of the evening. Who wins this fight and why?
CB: These kind of fights make me smile. When you just brought up their names I started smiling. It's a crapshoot. It's like putting two caged animals in a small cage and watching them go at it. There will be so much energy in this fight. Fists, knees and things flying everywhere. It's really anyone's guess. I can't make a prediction on this one.
GD: You're 4-2 since joining the UFC and you've really established yourself as a force in the 170-pound division. But you picked up the sport kind of late and you were actually seen competing on Pros vs. Joes. Did you ever think you'd arrive to where you are today? Did you really think you could be fighting for the greatest promotion in mixed martial arts?
CB: You know, not really. It was actually the whole experience that ignited me to compete again. I was done with wrestling and I was teaching with competition behind me. It was that experience that gave me confidence and propelled me to fight.
Every kid dreams of playing in the NFL or MLB and I was that 27-year-old that dreamed of fighting in the UFC. It was kind of surreal to see that I have actually accomplished what I set out to do. It's better than I could have ever imagined.
GD: And, for my final question, who would you like to thank?
CB: From the beginning of my days, it comes right back down to my parents. Raising all the kids. They really taught me principles of hard work, honesty and integrity. Those are the things that will always carry with you. My brother and I carry on those qualities that my parents have taught us. It helps keep me in check.
Garrett Derr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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