Chris Brennan is an MMA veteran who has competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship circuit and once won a lightweight title in the now extinct PRIDE organization. In the MMA world, many people who have followed the sport since its inception in the late 90s consider Brennan a pioneer.
After watching UFC 1, Brennan was motivated by the dominating performance of UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie. He would eventually train with Gracie himself and received his Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in only seven years.
Thanks to using an outside-the-box jiu-jitsu style, Brennan acquired the nickname of the “West Side Strangler” since he originally is from California and possessed a high-level ground game. In fact, of Brennan’s 21 career victories, 19 have come via submission due to his superior black belt jiu-jitsu skills.
For someone who has been around since it was cool to fight in a cage, Brennan has witnessed a lot of change in the sport as it constantly develops.
“There’s definitely been a lot of rule changes and a lot of time changes over the years to get to this point,” Brennan said. “The judging has been the biggest change because these days you get guys watching the same fight but one has it (30-27) one way and the other has it (30-27) another. So that’s something they need to clean up as the sport improves and gets better, but overall things are heading in the right direction.”
The 5-foot-8-inch fighter once did something unheard of in the world of MMA today. He took on UFC future Hall of Famer Pat Miletich three times in a six-month period where two of the three fights were fought in 20- and 30-minute rounds. Although UFC has regulated things for the better, Brennan feels today’s fighters would be well-served to have their own union if applicable.
“I think getting a fighter union would be cool and definitely help out the current fighters,” Brennan said. “Fighters wouldn’t be so much under the thumb of the UFC and you would be able to fight back in an argument. Because the way things are structured today the fighters can’t even argue back if they disagree with something and I feel a union would give them a leg to stand on.”
Brennan is the first no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor in the United States.
Now basically retired, Brennan is happy and very content running his Next Generation Mixed Martial Arts gym in Frisco where he has 300 students and counting signed up to take classes.
The Next Generation gym offers everything from $50 a month cardio classes, high-level Brazilian jiu-jitsu and even has four professional fighters. For Brennan, what makes Next Generation special is that it caters to everyone no matter the skill level or background and can help students improve in multiple facets of the game of life.
“We been here for four years and our goal is to have close to 500 students and more classes and instructors by the end of the year,” Brennan said.
Despite receiving several lucrative offers to open multiple gyms across the Metroplex, Brennan is content on focusing only on the Frisco gym to give students the personal touch which has made Next Generation become so successful.
“It’s not like I’m teaching everyday basic Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” a reflective Brennan said. “I took my gi off 16 or 17 year ago and haven’t put it on again. My style is created around that – my no-gi is completely different from everybody else’s and I think that’s the catch because people want to learn it from me and I’m more than willing to give them the personal touch they are looking for to make Next Generation successful.”
For more information on Next Generation Gym visit nextgenerationmma.com or call 940-224-3698.