2014 was a year to forget for Charlie Brenneman.

After stringing together four consecutive victories in 2013 to earn his way back to the Octagon, Brenneman went without a win in three fights with the UFC. Brenneman’s second stint with the world’s top promotion was over. It was devastation at its finest.

“It was obviously a rough year,” Brenneman told The MMA Corner. “My last fight with [Leandro] Silva was a hard one to swallow, but the whole year was the low point of my career. After that fight I realized I had to do some self evaluating and ask myself some serious questions. Am I going to continue fighting? Obviously I’d like to, I feel I have more to offer to the support. And I had to ask myself what I want to do with my life outside of fighting.”

The self evaluation process was diminutive. Brenneman already knew what lied within his heart’s passiona career in public speaking and giving back.

“I’ve always had a passion for speaking and mentoring,” said Brenneman. “It kind of comes with being a fighter, you’re always the central focus of the Octagon and you have the spotlight. I’m looking to start my own thing, so right now that’s something I’m working towards getting off the ground. I’ve been able to experience a lot in fighting and I’ve been through a lot of highs, but also a lot of lows. You learn a lot from fighting, man.”

“I’m aiming towards being able to give back and take what I’ve learned from this sport and help other people. I love speaking in front of people and having the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. I want to put together some of the lessons and principles that I’ve learned from fighting and share it with others. I want to share that with high schoolers and junior high kids,” said Brenneman. “I’m also looking to start a mentor program where I can spend one-on-one time impacting kids to make sure every aspect of their life is aligned with their goals.”

The fighting life can teach a man a lot about himself. The wins and successes can take one to a stage of glory and fame, while failure can lower a man to humility and a modest view of one’s relevance. Brenneman has experienced a concoction of both. But regardless of the multitudes of success and failures, the former UFC vet has found a silver lining in every step of the way.

“The life lessons I’ve learned in this sport have changed my life,” said Brenneman. “The lessons are perfectly applicable for every aspect of life. How you handle failure is huge for how you handle real life situations. A lot of people can handle success, but few persevere during times of failure. If you strive for the unordinary, if you want to achieve things that the normal person doesn’t normally reach for, you’re going to fail a lot more than the ordinary person.”

“I don’t think of myself as special in any way, but people around me tell me that I’ve inspired them. If I can inspire them, then that’s what I want to do with the younger generation. When I’m talking to a young kid and I’m talking about staying healthy and maintaining a positive lifestyle, I better not hang up the phone and start diving into pizza and Pepsi. I need to practice what I preach. There’s so much chance and circumstance in this life, so I want to make sure I can make an impact while I still have time.”

And while Brenneman isn’t signing the retirement papers just yet,  he realizes there’s much more to life than fighting. “The Spainard” is paving the way for future generations by giving back the only way he knows howapplying what he’s learned in the Octagon to impact the lives of others.

[yop_poll id=”1″]

All quotes were obtained first-hand unless otherwise noted. Follow @GarrettDerr on Twitter.