That was the day that TJ Grant withdrew from their matchup at UFC on Versus 4 card. That meant no fight, a fight in which Brenneman would be fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
But it did not take long for the tides to turn for Brenneman. As he puts it, “I felt fate was on my side.”
Fate must also be from Pittsburgh, or at least a fan of the Spaniard’s hair.
Just two days after his bout with Grant was called off of the Sunday card, Brenneman started to notice that fate was trying to show herself.
“I was in the sauna on Friday*, actually sitting next to Nate Marquardt,” explained Brenneman. “My manager calls me and tells me that there is a slight chance I could be fighting Rick Story. But I didn’t even know anything until the next day. About 45 minutes before weigh-ins, that’s when I get told I am in against Story.”
*Brenneman had to still make weight in order to collect his purse, since Grant’s withdrawal was so close to the event.
The next chapter is well known, as Brenneman went on to defeat Rick Story, in one of the biggest upsets in MMA this year.
But to Brenneman, the win over Story is not that big of an upset. “As soon as I was put back on the card, it’s as almost as if I knew this was all going to happen,” explained Brenneman. “I knew all of this happened so I could go out there and put on a show in front of my hometown.”
Now Brenneman hopes fate remains on his side, as he sets his sights on his next opponent, Anthony Johnson, whom he faces this Saturday at UFC on Versus 6.
Johnson brings with him a reputation as a powerful hitter, but also one who struggles to make weight prior to fight day. Brenneman feels that is what he will be able to take advantage of.
“Anthony Johnson is a giant welterweight,” said Brenneman. “He’s been suspect with his conditioning, and it remains to be seen whether he can last a full fifteen minutes.”
If Brenneman is able to defeat Johnson, he is fully aware of the repercussions it will have on his career. Since his victory over Story, Brenneman has moved into the top 10 of many pundits’ rankings.
But Brenneman does not put too much emphasis on those rankings, stating “Those rankings don’t really mean anything to me. The matchups are what are important. Johnson is a big name, someone who has been in the spotlight for quite a while. I know that a win over him would propel me in the right direction.”
Brenneman is hoping that direction is adding another date, October 1st, to his already remarkable year.