Charlie Brenneman fights this Saturday night at UFC 172 against Danny Castillo on the FOX Sports 1 preliminary card. Brenneman returned to the Octagon after a 15 month absence, but came out in a losing effort against Beneil Dariush in January. However he was a late notice replacement for the fight, and now comes into the bout with Castillo off a full training camp.
Brenneman went 4-0 in 2013 after being cut from the UFC for losing three in four, and dropped to lightweight during the stint away from the Octagon. In an exclusive interview with Cage Pages, Brenneman explained his road back to the Octagon and his preparation for his fight with Castillo,
“My goal from day one was to get back to the UFC. That was a big factor in my [drop] down to lightweight.”
The UFC wasn’t the only promotion interested in Brenneman’s services, especially after defeating Bellator vet Kyle Baker for the Cage Fury lightweight title.
“I did have a few offers from other promotions, which were very respectable, but at the end of the day, the UFC was my goal.”
The UFC re-signed Brenneman after a four fight winning streak outside of the promotion, with all four fights coming in the lightweight division. He was brought in to replace Jason High, and fought UFC newcomer Beneil Dariush at UFC Fight Night 35. Dariush defeated Brenneman via first round rear naked choke, and ‘The Spaniard’ isn’t blaming the short notice nature of the fight.
“My performance was to blame. I carry the success and failure. Dariush was a late [offer], two weeks prior to the fight. He was the first one.”“My performance was to blame. I carry the success and failure.”
In Danny Castillo, Brenneman faces a fighter who is also in need of a victory to get back on track after a decision loss to Edson Barboza. Castillo almost finished Barboza in the first round, but ultimately lost the last two rounds and the fight altogether.
“I expect a guy who is looking to prove something to everyone. He’ll come at me [with] everything, basing my abilities on my last performance. Every fight in the UFC is a must win.”
I also asked Brenneman how he has felt since dropping to lightweight and how tough the weight cut is, after the 33 year-old has fought five times in the weight class. During his first spell in the UFC, The Spaniard fought at welterweight 8 times, including a fight with current welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.
“The cut is never ‘tough’ but it is very calculated and it takes commitment. I have it down to a pretty good science, so i’m able to get there without too much trauma to my body.”
The final question was on a photo recently shared on social media of Brenneman with former opponent Anthony Johnson, who fights on the same card against Phil Davis. While Brenneman will be fighting at lightweight (155lbs), Johnson is making his UFC light heavyweight debut (205lbs) after the pair fought at welterweight (170lbs). I asked his thoughts on the different in routes the two fighters have gone down.
“Haha, it’s pretty crazy. The thing is, he made weight for our fight. Everyone always says how he misses weight, but he made it that time.”
— Charlie Brenneman (@SpaniardMMA) April 24, 2014
I would like to thank Mr. Brenneman for his time, and wish him luck in his fight with Danny Castillo at UFC 172. You can follow Charlie on Twitter: @SpaniardMMA.