Most of the song's lyrics revolve around Anthony Kiedis' addiction to heroin. At the lowest point in Kiedis' addiction, Flea had kicked him out of the Chili Peppers with no intention of letting him back in unless he was proven sober. After getting clean through various rehab programs, he called Flea to tell him of his success, and was accepted back in the band. On the plane ride home, Kiedis wrote this song about his struggles with drugs and his overcoming them.
The song is mostly an attempt to inspire other people like the rehab sessions were motivational for Kiedis to abandon the drugs. Kiedis described "Fight Like a Brave" as "a metaphor for trying to encourage someone who feels as though they don't have a chance [as though] they're grovelling in the gutter of life." He also said the song expressed the band's discontentment with EMI, their label at the time.