Charlie Brenneman’s weekend in Pittsburgh can only be described as winning.
Brenneman defeated rising star Rick Story on less than twenty-four hours notice and became one of the brightest spots on a card he had been removed from earlier in the week.
After seeing his scheduled undercard fight against T.J. Grant scrapped due to illness, Brenneman was left without an opponent for the UFC on Versus 4 card. In a strange turn of events, “The Spaniard” learned he would be back on the card – and he’d also be filling in for Nate Marquardt.
“It was one of those things where I just couldn’t believe it. I went to up to Mike Constanino and asked ‘Are you sure?’ Then I kept asking “Are you sure? Are you sure?” and everyone we talked to kept giving us the same answer, ‘As far as we know.’ So as great as it was I was still hesitant.”
Once the Story fight was confirmed, Brenneman kept his emotions in check as he went through the pre-fight process. After the weigh-ins and their intense stare down he knew it was time to get down to business.
“The game plan…or whatever game plan you can make in 24 hrs, was to push the pace, get in his face and not let him get off. I had some ugly visions of his fight with Dustin Hazelett and I did not want to be on the receiving end of that. “
With Brenneman being from nearby Holidaysburg, the crowd in Pittsburgh showed tremendous support. From the moment he walked out until the unanimous decision victory was announced, the fans in attendance were with Brenneman all the way.
“It was the best thing that any fighter can hope for. The fight was in the area I’m from and I had a hometown crowd there. My walk-out and the reaction I received were awesome so I was really in the zone. It was something that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to top again.”
Despite the chaos Brenneman experienced leading up the fight, he remained focused and on target. After his victory over Story, all of the reshuffling became a mere footnote to a bigger accomplishment.
“I don’t know if it is an advantage I have because I don’t know what other fighter’s mentalities are like but I wake up every day and train my butt off to be a fighter. I live away from my family so while the late changes could have been taxing mentally…it really wasn’t. This is what I train for, live for and it is my livelihood so I just had to judge things the best that I could and take advantage of the situation.”
Two weeks ago Brenneman couldn’t have imagined the statement he would make this past weekend. Whether he goes on to become a top contender or future champion, what he accomplished in Pittsburgh will be up high on his list of achievements.
“It really was one of “those” moments. I think what kept me calm was that so many factors had to happen in unison to get me that fight that it was like God had a plan for me to walk that walk and do what I did. It was almost as if it was all laid out in front of me and I just had to go through the motions to do it. The stars were aligned and that’s the only way I can explain it.”
From having his bout scrapped to not only getting, but winning the biggest fight of his life, the question now is what comes next for Charlie Brenneman?
“I wish I knew, man. It went from being an unknown guy on the prelims to being an unknown guy off the card to beating the #6 ranked welterweight in the world. I’m not sure where this puts me but I can’t wait to see.”