In this episode, professional mixed martial arts fighter and speaker Charlie Brenneman talks about peak performance, what it takes to get to that level, his relationship with his wife, and the ups and downs that it took in pursuit of his goals. In Charlie’s story, we can teach our kids about pursuing our dreams and goals, and putting in the work.
Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, speaker, mentor and author.
Following a successful high school wrestling career, Charlie took his talents to Lock Haven University where he achieved a top 12 finish at Division I Nationals and 1st Team All-Academic.
After teaching Spanish for three years and winning Spike TV’s Pros vs. Joes, Charlie decided to leave his job to pursue a master’s degree and begin his professional fighting career—“The Spaniard” was born. In 2011, he was ranked as high as #7 in the world, and in 2015, he published his autobiography, Driven: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage.
Charlie currently lives in PA with his wife and daughter.
(02:35) When you hear the word success or successful, what’s the first thing that comes to mind and why?
(03:21) What is it about The Rock that you look up to?
(04:55) Let’s dive into your story, your formative years. Why don’t you paint the picture for us of you growing up.
(07:23) So you found wrestling early. You excelled at the sport. How did you find the sport and why did you gravitate to it so much?
(09:15) Then you went on to teach. I’m interested to get your thought process on that transition. What inspired you to become an MMA fighter?
(11:04) To get to the level that you got to, #7 in the world in the UFC, how did you develop the skills necessary to compete at that level?
(14:30) When you made that move to eastern Pennsylvania, what daily habits and routines that you have that became really critical to the skill development?
(15:44) Did you have any family at that time?
(19:19) Is there an inflection point for you, whether it be in the ring or outside of it, that was critical to the man that you are today and who you’re trying to become?
(21:25) That resilience, do you believe that it comes from your experience in athletics, or do you think it’s innate that you had it before you entered wrestling?
“A great deal of the things I’ve been exposed to, are because I put things in motion and made them happen. It’s doing.”
(23:17) I want to go back to the fight where you said you got knocked out on TV. When did you mentally make the transition where you’re like, “There’s a next step here outside of the ring.”
(25:08) How does the UFC contract work? Is it a fight by fight basis? Is it an annual contract?
(26:53) You mentioned your nickname is The Spaniard. Where did the nickname come from?
(27:50) Is there a book or series of books that most influenced you, and why?
- The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- Open by Andre Agassi
(28:50) Why don’t you tell us about the work that you’re doing and continue to develop?
(31:24) If you could have dinner with one person you admire, past or present, who would it be and why?