“TUF 10” Blog: Justin “The Viking” Wren – The Introduction

Justin Wren's "TUF 10 Blog" will appear on PROMMA.INFO following each episode of season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter.
Justin Wren's TUF 10 blog will be published on PROMMA.INFO each Wednesday evening following each episode of The Ultimate Fighter "Heavyweights" on Spike TV.

A little about me, Justin “The Viking” Wren

First I want to say thank you to PROMMA.INFO for providing me the opportunity to share some insight with you guys!

I am so lucky and fortunate to have been a part of the show! I am extremely excited for the premiere coming up in a week. I have been a fan of the UFC since I was 13-years-old and I can honestly say that this HAS to be the best season yet.

I am very lucky to have been a part of such a big show in the making, and I am looking forward to re-living six weeks of my life with fans, family and friends! This season is packed full of stiff competition; every guy on the show wanted to walk away the winner (unlike past seasons where I feel some just wanted to be on TV).

I am excited for the fans to see all the great athletes at the Heavyweight division this season is bringing. The fights WON’T disappoint!

As for me, I am nicknamed “The Viking” and it is suiting, so I’ve been told, ha, considering I resemble the “Snicker’s Viking” from the commercials. I often throw trashcans at parked cars…Just kidding.

I am the youngest cast member of the show, turning 22 just a month before filming, and I am 10-1 as a professional fighter. It literally has been my dream since middle school to be in the UFC, and hopefully one day become the World Champ. I almost completely missed the opportunity to be on the show, and I believe it was fate that worked in my favor, shutting one door, and opening another.

Growing up as a kid, I came from a great family that was fairly conservative. It was a family that you wouldn’t think would be fans of the “original” UFC, and my family wasn’t, except me.

I saw the UFC 1-10 tapes sitting at a local flea market, so I decided to save up my allowance, buy, and then sneak the tapes into my house. I hid them under my mattress, would wait til’ my parents went to bed and then watch the tapes religiously.

On one occasion I remember thinking my parents were asleep. I popped in one of the tapes, and my dad busted me. As the door opened, I tried turning it off and pretending to be asleep! I think my Dad thought I was watching “dirty” videos, however watching UFC tapes wasn’t much better in his eyes. So, one by one my tapes were slowly taken from me, then given back a little later.

Needless to say I grew up wanting to be in the UFC like most boys from Texas want to play for the Dallas Cowboys.

When I entered High School I was approached by a mentor of mine who asked if I would be interested in wrestling. Having known that it was a dominate style in MMA at the time I was hooked, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

I have always been blessed with extremely great coaching and transferred my junior and senior year to Bishop Lynch in Dallas to wrestle under Kenny Monday, and Kendall Cross, both Olympic champs.

In High School I ended up winning 10 Texas State Championships in the three styles of wrestling (Greco Roman, Freestyle, Folkstyle) and became a two-time National Champion wrestler.

I then went straight to the United States Olympic Education Center to pursue my Olympic dreams in Greco. I sustained an injury within the first year of wrestling there and went home for reconstructive surgery.

Later I was recruited by Cael Sanderson and the Iowa State Cyclones. I lived in Ames for a year with the intent to wrestle on scholarship after my recovery time. During that recovery time I took seven fights and fell in love with MMA.

Justin Wren wins his second national championship.
Justin Wren wins his second national championship.

It was always my dream but once I actually had my first fight, I knew it would be hard to dedicate myself to only wrestling. After talking with Cael Sanderson I found that it would be a risk for both parties if I fought while I was on scholarship. Cael is a great champion, but an even better person and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him.

I decided that I would rather pursue my MMA goals rather than any NCAA titles, and have been fighting full time since. I thought it was a tough decision, but I especially, now, feel it was the best thing for me.

Before TUF, I was fighting my way up on small to mid-level shows, and have had 11 pro fights with my pro debut being when I was 19-year-old.

I was slated for a main event fight April 11 in Ames, Iowa against Zak Jensen, another member of this season’s cast.

I didn’t go to the TUF tryouts because of that fight being the weekend after (I was in training camp) and I thought I had missed out on my opportunity.

The day of weigh-ins came for my fight and as it turned out, Zak Jensen pulled out and didn’t show up to weigh ins…remember, he’s now on the show with me.

I took the fight against another heavyweight on the card and ended up winning by arm triangle in just over a minute in the first round.

As crazy as it sounds I thought I was going to miss my TUF opportunity, AGAIN; I had another fight I was suppose to headline in my hometown of Fort Worth, Texas when the producers for TUF called me.

They wanted me to fly out the next day to come to Vegas for the interviews but I had weigh-ins that very same day (the fight was on a Thursday, odd I know). I asked if I could come out after my fight and they said no.

I thought my chance was lost, but luckily enough, my opponent backed out and they couldn’t find a replacement. I called the producer and about three hours later I was on a plane to Vegas!

Interviews and medicals went great and I had high hopes I was going to be on the show. It is the biggest opportunity I have been given, and I am thankful to God, SPIKE and the UFC. Being on this season is such a great thing for all the guys in the house, best season yet!

My life right now couldn’t be any better. I am blessed beyond measure. I just relocated to Denver to train with Grudge Training Center and the Jackson guys in New Mexico.

I just moved on top of a 9,000 foot mountain and my living room over looks downtown Denver! I am training at high elevation with some of the best guys on the planet. Tomorrow morning I will be sparring with Shane Carwin, Elliot Marshall, Brendan Schaub and Duane Ludwig. Nate Marquardt is a regular, but he’s currently out of town.

I feel this is the best place for me, and before I had decided on Grudge, I had visited/trained at some of the top teams in the world. I treated all the teams/gyms like a college recruiting trip.

I visited ATT in Miami, Golden Glory in Holland, and also the top Vegas gyms like Couture’s, Striking Unlimited, Cobra Kai, and Master Toddy’s. All of those were absolutely incredible gyms, but I think the MMA fans worldwide are about to start hearing more and more noise from all the guys in Denver and Jackson’s MMA!

Maybe a little teaser….a little inside information, the fights are the best of any season yet! Being a fan for much longer than I have been fighting, this is the honest truth.

The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights full cast
The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights full cast

When you guys see the knockouts you will flip! The submissions are incredibly sick for the heavyweight division, and anytime it did go to a decision it was an ABSOLUTE BRUTAL war where neither guy said die!

I am so pumped for this season because the fights are up to par, and I don’t feel the fans will be disappointed! All in all, from start to finish, this season is going to be the best yet! The fans want to see great fights, and that is EXACTLY what they are going to get!

Look forward to sharing more with you guys, and thanks for the opportunity!!

PROMMA.INFO is very proud to be the home of the official “THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 10: HEAVYWEIGHTS BLOG OF JUSTIN ‘THE VIKING’ WREN.” Justin’s blog will be published on PROMMA.INFO following each episode of “The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights” which begins airing on Spike TV Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009.

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