Justin Wren

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Justin Wren
Born Justin Christopher Wren
(1987-04-27) April 27, 1987 (age 29)
Dallas, Texas, United States
Other names The Big Pygmy
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight 251 lb (114 kg; 17.9 st)
Division Heavyweight
Reach 75.0 in (191 cm)
Fighting out of Fort Worth, Texas, United States

Team Takedown

Grudge Training Center
Years active 2006-present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 15
Wins 13
By knockout 6
By submission 4
By decision 3
Losses 2
By knockout 1
By decision 1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Justin Christopher Wren (born April 27, 1987) is an American humanitarian worker[1] and a professional mixed martial artist, currently competing in the heavyweight division of Bellator MMA.[2] A professional competitor since 2006, Wren has also formerly competed for the UFC, and was a cast member of SpikeTV's The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights.

Amateur wrestling career[edit]

Wren enjoyed a highly successful and decorated wrestling career before venturing into MMA. He was a standout at Texas wrestling powerhouse Bishop Lynch High School, where he was coached by Olympic Gold Medalists Kenny Monday and Kendall Cross.[3] During that time, he was a two time Prep State Champion (2004, 2005) and a two time Prep all-American, winning the Prep National Championship his senior year in Lehigh, PA.

While he was indeed a standout collegiate-style wrestler, Wren's greatest success came in the Greco Roman style. He was a two time All-American in that discipline, winning the national championship in Fargo, ND the summer after his senior year in high school ('05).[4] This championship gained him national attention and earned him a scholarship to the U.S. Olympic Education Center at Northern Michigan University to train for the Olympics to compete in Greco Roman wrestling.[5]

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Wanting to try his hand at Division I college wrestling, Wren attended Iowa State University to compete for then coach Cael Sanderson, however, he sustained an injury training before he could join the team. To stay active, Wren entered local fights around Iowa and began his MMA career.[6]

Wren won his first four fights by knockout before taking his first loss. His opponent was Matt Thompson. Wren then won five more fights and was ten and one before appearing on TUF.[7] Heading into the tenth installment of The Ultimate Fighter, Wren had trained all over the world but found his permanent home in Denver, CO with TUF 10 coach Trevor Wittman.[8]

Wren is one of several fighters who is chaplained by The Fight Pastor.[9]

The Ultimate Fighter[edit]

Wren was on the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter fighting for Team Rashad. He was picked third for his team and sixth overall. On episode five, Wren fought UFC veteran Wes Sims, defeating him via first round technical submission from an arm triangle.

Wren then moved on to the quarter-finals and fought Roy Nelson in a controversial two round majority decision loss that many spectators at ring side, including Dana White, felt should have gone to a third round.

Ultimate Fighting Championship[edit]

Wren would go on make his UFC début at The Ultimate Finale 10, against Ultimate Fighter 10 cast mate, Jon Madsen who he lost to via split decision.[10] Wren was later released from the UFC.[11]


On Jan. 23, Wren announced he has signed a deal with an unnamed promotion. Jan. 26, the promotion was named as the Ring of Fire MMA based in Colorado. He fought and defeated Josh Henry in his début for Ring of Fire by TKO in the first round.

After injuring his back from a slam in his most recent victory over Josh Robertson, Wren will undergo a corrective procedure to repair six or seven discs in his back. He plans to return "pretty soon".[12]

Bellator MMA[edit]

In July 2015, Wren signed a five-fight contract with Bellator MMA. After five years away from the sport, Wren made his promotional debut against Josh Burns at Bellator 141 on August 28, 2015.[2] He won the fight by unanimous decision. He won his second Bellator bout against Juan Torres on February 19, 2016, also by unanimous decision. [13]

Wren faced Roman Pizzolato at Bellator 174 on March 3, 2017. He won via submission due to an arm-triangle choke in the first round.[14]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 13-2 Roman Pizzolato Submission (arm-triangle choke) Bellator 174 March 3, 2017 1 2:35 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States
Win 12-2 Juan Torres Decision (unanimous) Bellator 149 February 19, 2016 3 5:00 Houston, Texas, United States
Win 11-2 Josh Burns Decision (unanimous) Bellator 141 August 28, 2015 3 5:00 Temecula, California, United States
Win 10-2 Josh Robertson Submission (rear-naked choke) Fight Force International: Blood & Sand 8 July 17, 2010 2 4:55 Biloxi, Mississippi, United States
Win 9-2 Reggie Higgins Decision (unanimous) MMA Xplosion: Fight Night II at the Hard Rock May 22, 2010 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 8-2 Josh Henry TKO (punches) Ring of Fire 37: Warlords March 5, 2010 1 1:20 Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Loss 7-2 Jon Madsen Decision (split) The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale December 5, 2009 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 7-1 Lamar Coleman Submission (arm-triangle choke) Brutaal: Hilton Coliseum April 11, 2009 1 1:03 Ames, Iowa, United States
Win 6-1 Chris Guillen TKO (punches) Xp3: The Proving Ground July 26, 2008 2 1:45 Houston, Texas, United States
Win 5-1 Ralph Kelly TKO (corner stoppage) C3 Fights: Contenders January 19, 2008 2 3:00 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States
Win 4-1 Tony Guined Submission (guillotine choke) Ultra Pure Productions: Graveyard Smash October 31, 2007 1 3:04 Conroe, Texas, United States
Loss 3-1 Matt Thompson TKO (referee stoppage) Art of War 2 May 11, 2007 2 0:27 Austin, Texas, United States
Win 3-0 Justin Howard TKO (punches) Art of War 1 March 9, 2007 2 1:32 Dallas, Texas, United States
Win 2-0 Brian Ewers TKO (punches) ECF: Winter War January 27, 2007 1 0:42 Spirit Lake, Iowa, United States
Win 1-0 Ronald Stackhouse TKO (punches) Masters of the Cage 7 December 2, 2006 1 1:45 Norman, Oklahoma, United States

Humanitarian work[edit]

Justin has done a number of charity drives and expeditions for his charity Fight for the Forgotten,[15] with his work being featured on The Joe Rogan Experience.[16] He published an account of his life (co-authored by Loretta Hunt) and work with the Pygmy people, also entitled 'Fight for the Forgotten', in September 2015.[17]

Justin has used a portion of his earnings from MMA to buy land and build fresh water wells for the Pygmy people in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[18] His solution uses local workforce and can be walked into the often otherwise inaccessible areas to well drilling machinery, initially they find well locations using a vertical electrical sounding machine [16] supplied by their partner charity Water4.


  1. ^ "Redemption Shot: Justin Wren's path from drug addict to Christian missionary - Counter Punch". SI.com. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  2. ^ a b "Justin Wren signs with Bellator, meets Josh Burns on Bellator 141 main card". MMAjunkie. Retrieved 2015-08-01. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived July 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 16, 2005. Retrieved July 9, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Pro Mma Fighter Spotlight: Justin Wren : Pro Mma Now". Promma.info. 2008-06-29. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  6. ^ "PRO MMA FIGHTER SPOTLIGHT: JUSTIN WREN". ProMMA.com. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Sherdog Fight Finder: Justin Wren". Sherdog. Retrieved June 7, 2009. 
  8. ^ [2] Archived July 25, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Friel, Todd (2010-03-05). "Justin Wren Fights, Fight Pastor Prays". FightPastor.com. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  10. ^ "Justin Wren vs. John Madsen set for Ultimate Fighter Finale". Aroundtheoctagon.com. 2009-11-25. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  11. ^ "Justin Wren Released by UFC; Tim Credeur Injured, Withdraws From Fight - MMA Fighting". Mma.fanhouse.com. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  12. ^ "Justin Wren to have Back Surgery". sherdog.com. Retrieved 2011-05-26. 
  13. ^ "Bellator 149: Shamrock vs. Gracie Full Results & Recap". The MMA Corner. 2016-02-19. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  14. ^ Staff (March 3, 2017). "Bellator 174 results: Julia Budd wins featherweight title vs. Marloes Coenen, who retires". mmajunkie.com. 
  15. ^ Iole, Kevin (2015-03-24). "How an MMA fighter found salvation among the Pygmies - Yahoo Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2015-10-14. 
  16. ^ a b "Joe Rogan Experience #603 - Justin Wren". YouTube. 2015-01-27. Retrieved 2015-08-01. 
  17. ^ "Fight for the Forgotten". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2016-02-19. 
  18. ^ "Fight for the Forgotten". Indiegogo.com. Retrieved 2015-08-25. 

External links[edit]