When Charlie Brenneman sits down to eat dinner, it is not uncommon for him to be seated across the dining room table from “Jersey Shore” reality television show standout Snooki. That is one of the numerous highlights that coincide with the UFC welterweight’s recent relocation to New Jersey.
“My buddy here happens to be dating Snooki,” Brenneman told Joe Rizzo and Jeremy Fullerton on Rear Naked Choke Radio on the MMA DieHards Radio Network. “I’ve had plenty of Sunday dinners with Snooki.”
It should not come as a shock that “The Spaniard” is associated with a reality television star; after all, Brenneman is one himself. He competed on SpikeTV’s reality show “Pros vs. Joes,” on which he and his brother claimed the initial season championship.
“(MTV) is on my weekly mailing list,” Charlie joked as he explained his self publicity. “Whether it’s a cameo on Pros vs. Joes, (or) UFC Espanol, I’ll take anything.”
In addition to mingling with television personalities, Brenneman’s recent move from his home in Pennsylvania to become a full-time resident in New Jersey also came with some work-oriented perks. Already training at the AMA Fight Club in Whippany, Charlie’s relocation allows him to focus on training rather than traveling.
“It was a big decision; everything in my life is in Pennsylvania, my family, my friends,” Charlie told the hosts. “The commuting was getting out of hand, I was going into the city one day a week and I was going to Jersey one day a week, it was killing me.”
A life-altering move of this extent is evidence that Brenneman believes his dedication to AMA will pay off, as well as his commitment to becoming a great fighter.
“I’m in it for the long haul. I’m going to do everything I can to be the best that I can,” Brenneman said. “I figured I would surround myself with the environment even more.”
In addition to Brenneman’s daily training under Mike Constantino at AMA, the fighter utilizes the talents nearby gyms have to offer.
“I train at Renzo’s (Gracie) one day a week, and then I go down to Ricardo Almeida’s (gym) one day a week to work (on my) boxing,” he explained. “It’s wise to get insight from different people and it’s definitely been helpful.”
The former high school Spanish teacher last fought at UFC 117 in August, when he lost to Johny Hendricks in the second round via TKO after dominating the two-time NCAA Division I champion through the first round.
“I took a lot from the Hendricks fight,” Brenneman admitted. “I just watched the fight again last week and I was surprised at how much I improved since my previous fight, and (the Hendricks) fight was five or six months ago.”
Charlie recognized that minor adjustments were necessary in his training following that loss. Proving the determination he embodies, Brenneman immediately began making the required changes.
“I have been working since September,” he explained. “I’ve been working with Mike (Constantino) and everyone at AMA. I started working with a new boxing coach, and I got some new looks in jiu-jitsu. I’m not a new machine, but I’m a much improved machine.”
Brenneman (12-2) is set to square off against the 11-2 Amilicar Alves on Saturday at the UFC Fight for the Troops 2 event. Alves is a well-rounded fighter who faces potential UFC unemployment if he does not get past the rejuvenated “Spaniard.” Given Brenneman’s new training regimen and improved focus, Alves will have his work cut out for him come Saturday night.
Besides his fight in front of the troops, Brenneman is also showing his support for the armed forces through a fundraising effort.
“We came up with the idea in conjunction with my fight for the troops (for) a limited edition ‘Spaniard’ shirt,” Charlie announced. “We will be giving a part of the proceeds back to the (military).”
The limited edition Charlie “The Spaniard” Brenneman shirt can be purchased through Brenneman’s personal website.
Demonstrating determination and sacrifice to accomplish the goals he has set for himself, Brenneman enters UFC Fight for the Troops 2 focused and prepared, ready to advance his career to the next benchmark. In his new surroundings, his goals are very realistic.
Sunday dinner with Snooki is a great story for friends and reporters, but Brenneman hopes to achieve a better story as a result of his move to New Jersey. Charlie Brenneman’s residency in the Garden State allows him to focus on the skills needed to succeed inside the Octagon. Perhaps it won’t be long before “The Spaniard” is the biggest star at the banquet table.