Litmus test: Interview with UFC on FX 3 co-headliner Charlie Brenneman

Pictured: Charlie Brenneman. Photo by Scott Peterson via MMA Weekly

Charlie Brenneman completely understands the situation he's in.

Tonight (June 8, 2012), he'll be stepping into the Octagon at UFC on FX 3 against a gigantic wave of hype out of Brazil in Erick Silva, a fighter who's had two fights in the UFC last a combined one minute and nine seconds.

The problem with Silva? He's completely untested, having faced a blown up lightweight and a fellow UFC newcomer in his two bouts in the promotion.

Brenneman, however, has run the gauntlet of tough opposition, accumulating 4-2 record in the UFC with quality wins over Rick Story and Jason High while also squaring off against the likes of Johny Hendricks (in which he won the first round) and Anthony Johnson.

"The Spaniard" was recently a guest on Bloody Elbow Radio where he discussed his thoughts on Silva as an opponent, what he's looking to prove and prior examples of hype trains being derailed.

Check it out:

Matt Bishop: You're fighting Friday at UFC on FX 3 in Sunrise, Florida, so I'm assuming you're on location as we speak?

Charlie Brenneman: Yeah, I'm actually sitting in the sunshine so it's pretty darn good.

Matt Bishop: Erick Silva is a very tough test. In terms of welterweight prospects and "up and comers," he's one of the most highly touted guys in the division. What were your initial thoughts when you were told that Erick Silva was your next opponent?

Charlie Brenneman: Any time after a fight, you try to look at all the winners, all the losers and try to figure out who I could fight next. To be honest, he wasn't really one of the guys that we were considering simply because it didn't come across to me. When I got the call and Mike [Constantino] told me, deep down, I was completely happy about it. For me, it's a nice break to get away from a heavy-handed wrestler and to fight someone with a different style match-up. He's also got a lot of hype behind him so it's a big opportunity for me.

Matt Bishop: So what are you looking to prove on Friday?

Charlie Brenneman: Several people asked me, "Do you feel like they're throwing you to the wolves?" or "Is this an unfair fight?" and I kind of take offense to that. I fought Johny Hendricks. I fought Rick Story. I fought Anthony Johnson, so if Erick Silva is a wolf, those guys are alpha wolves. I want to go into this and I want to fight well and I want to show some of my new skills. I want to win emphatically and I want to put a definitive end to the Erick Silva hype.

Matt Bishop: You mention "new skills." What new skills are you hoping to showcase?

Charlie Brenneman: When I first started out in my first seven or eight fights, I didn't know much jiu-jitsu and I was just constantly grounding and pounding and cutting guys up with elbows and punches and once I learned BJJ, I kind of got away from that so that's something I really want to bring back. I know he's dangerous on the ground, but that's I really want to bring out in the fight.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Silva has technically a 1-1 record in the UFC, but two fights, two finishes inside the first minute. Do you see him as coming off a loss or do you think of it as 2-0 despite the disqualification?

Charlie Brenneman: Yeah, I think he's undefeated [in the UFC]. I wouldn't look at it like that. It sure as heck didn't look like a loss anyway, but at the same time, I'm also aware of the fact that he's only spent 1:09 in the cage and a lot has yet to be proven and I'm more than happy to be that litmus test.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Yeah, that's really important because you see it all the time, there's these guys that come in, win a few fights and there's a lot of hype behind them, just look at Edson Barboza a couple weeks ago where they come in and face a guy who gets in their face and force them to back down. Do you feel like your style matches up well with his?

Charlie Brenneman: Absolutely. That last fight that you mentioned with Barboza and Varner is a perfect example. I think I'm a better wrestler than Jamie but he's a better striker than I am so I think it balances out. It's the same thing, I want to put that pressure in his face that he's never felt before.

Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You have run a really tough gauntlet of fighters in your UFC career already in Rick Story, Jason High, Anthony Johnson and Johny Hendricks. Where would you rank Erick Silva in that group right now?

Charlie Brenneman: The guys that you just mentioned, I fought them all in their rise and fall, but Erick Silva is definitely not a contender. He's not done enough to be a contender but he's on the verge of breaking into stardom. I don't take offense to it. I don't care to be the guy who makes or breaks him. If I beat him, that puts me back into the upper echelon and if I lose this fight, more power to Erick Silva and perhaps he deserves to be on that climb up.

Matt Bishop: This is going to be Erick Silva's first time fighting outside of Brazil. We've seen guys fighting outside their country for the first time, trying to cut the weight, their performance kind of suffers in some cases. Do you think for somebody as young as him, he might have trouble making that transition?

Charlie Brenneman: Yeah, that's something that can definitely work in my favor. It's not going to work against me but it's a factor that could work in my favor so it's something in my back pocket. Whether that's gonna happen or not, it's hard to say. It's a 50/50 chance. Some guys it bugs them, some guys not. It remains to be seen.

Matt Bishop: What's gonna be the biggest key for you in this fight to bring home a victory?

Charlie Brenneman: The biggest key is to impose my will which means putting pressure on him, putting my hands up and keeping my feet moving.

You can follow Charlie Brenneman on twitter @SpaniardMMA.

So what do you think, Maniacs?

Will Brenneman derail the Erick Silva hype train tonight? How do you like his chances of grounding and pounding the talented young Brazilian?

Sound off!

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