The hooker, who was selected to tour South Africa with the Lions only to miss out with an elbow injury, was forced to hang up his boots last season after succumbing to a persistent calf injury.
But the Munsterman, who is also studying for a Masters in Sports Performance at Limerick University, has taken up mixed martial arts to fill the void.
"I'd like to give it a go. I like the sport, it's something different so I've arranged a few lessons," Flannery told the Irish Independent.
"With the course I'm doing I realised how narrow my focus was with rugby, I trained to play. I think the more sports you play the better, so I'll try MMA to start with. I'll probably get my arm pulled off but as long as my calf doesn't tear I don't mind."
Flannery's interest in MMA was born in his Munster days, after wrestling was introduced as part of training. Every week they had a 'King of the Ring' competition where the last man standing won.
"Sami Tuitupou was pretty impressive, I won one bout of it but you can't say you're the best at it, it's more about surviving," said Flannery.
"If you manage to weasel your way into the corner, avoid some of the big lads and then push some of them out when they are throwing someone else out you might get lucky and win."
The 41-cap international still keeps a close eye on Munster and hopes they will flourish under new coach Rob Penney.
"I hope this is a big year for us, it's transitional, we've a new coach and a lot of players have moved on. But there are a lot of new, good young players who've come in too, and it's good for them that we've gone as well because now it's really up to them. They work hard and they love playing for Munster for the right reasons."