“Some people crumble under adversity while others rise through it.” Likewise, having been bullied at a very young age, Justin Wren has overcome his adversities from the past to become one of the best heavyweights in Bellator MMA.
Before his hiatus from Bellator, everyone thought that Justin was the next man in line for the heavyweight championship. But, the Texas native is not just a fighter who beats people inside the cage.
Instead, Wren is also a social activist who helps tribes in Congo’s jungles through the Fight for the Forgotten charity.
As a result, the 32-year-old is one of the most loved and popular fighters in the MMA scene. But, Justin did not earn all his love and fame in a single day. Rather, the Texas-born fighter had to face difficulties from very early on in his career.
Therefore, we have written this article to explain Wren’s early life to his current days as a social activist and all that happened in between. But first, let’s have a look at his quick facts.
|Full Name||Justin Christopher Wren|
|Birth Date||27 April 1987|
|Birth Place||Dallas, Texas, U.S.A|
|Nick Name||Big Pygmy|
|Education||Iowa State University|
|Father’s Name||Not available|
|Mother’s Name||Not available|
|Age||36 years old|
|Height||6’2″ (1.88 m)|
|Weight||234 lb (106 kg)|
|Profession||Mixed Martial Arts|
|Reach||75 inch (191 cm)|
|Team||Team Takedown, Grudge Training Center, Travis Lutter BJJ|
|Fighting out of||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States|
|Social Media||Instagram, Twitter, Facebook|
|Last Update||June, 2023|
Justin Wren: Early Life
Justin Christopher Wren was born on 27 April 1987 in Dallas, Texas, to his parents, who remain unknown. Ever since Justin was a child, all he wanted to do was get involved in combat sports.
The primary reason being his bullying incidents by other kids. As a result, the heavyweight fighter knew he wanted to be an MMA fighter as early as 13.
However, high schools in the U.S don’t offer MMA as a sport. Thus, a young Wren had to take up wrestling instead.
Nonetheless, the Texas native performed exceedingly well for Bishop Lynch High School, which was the best high school in wrestling.
Added to that, young Justin was coached by Olympic Gold Medalists Kenny Monday and Kendall Cross, with whom he won Prep State Championship twice in 2004, 2005, and became a two-time Prep All-American.
Furthermore, by the time Wren had finished college, he was a two-time All-American in the Greco Roman wrestling while also winning Fargo’s national championship.
Justin Wren: Career
Wren’s professional MMA career started with none other than UFC. Before he made his professional debut, the Texas native had already fought ten times, winning nine.
As a result, Justin got invited to the Total Ulitmate Fighter’s tenth installment to compete against some of the best up-and-coming heavyweights in the whole world.
Subsequently, the Big Pygmy fought Wes Sims on his debut for the UFC. Justin won the fight comfortably as Sims tapped out in the first round via an arm triangle submission move.
As a consequence, Wren had to face future UFC heavyweight star Roy Nelson in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Controversially, Nelson won the fight in the second round due to a majority decision. However, everyone watching the bout, including UFC president, Dana White, thought the fight should have gone into the third and final round.
After that, the 32-year-old heavyweight appeared one last time for the UFC against John Madsen. But, unfortunately, Wren lost the fight via a split decision.
Added to that, the Texas native’s time with the UFC got even worse as the organization released him due to underwhelming performances.
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Nonetheless, Justin knew that many other organizations would be interested in the two-time All-American Greco Roman wrestler.
And that is precisely what happened as Wren announced that he had signed a deal with Ring of Fire MMA, which was based in Colorado.
Subsequently, in his first fight with the ROF, Justin defeated Josh Henry in the first round via a TKO. It seemed like the Texas native had finally found his true form.
Similarly, Wren won his second fight with the organization as he defeated Josh Robertson.
However, the fight was not without consequence as the Big Pygmy got injured from a slam. Consequently, Justin had to through a corrective procedure to fix the seven discs that got damaged in his back.
Nevertheless, Wren vowed to return even stronger, but little did he know that his injury would keep him out of the sport for five long years. After that, the Texas native spent the next five years recuperating and honing his skills.
Fight for the Forgotten
It is at this time that the 34-year-old heavyweight got involved in the Fight for the Forgotten charity.
To explain, the charity helps forgotten tribes of Mbuti Pygmies who are severely affected by economic enslavement, diseases, and hopelessness.
In fact, through his initiative, Justin has helped free more than 15,000 enslaved people who are now flourishing on their own 3,000 acres of land.
Also, they have access to clean water and their own farms, which was impossible without Wren’s help.
Following his five long years of rehabilitation and charity work, the Texas native returned to the MMA scene with Bellator MMA.
Wren signed a five-fight contract with the organization in July 2015 and subsequently faced Josh Burns in his debut for Bellator.
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Justin started his Bellator career just like he ended his Ring of Fire by defeating Burns via a unanimous decision.
Even though the heavyweight fighter had fought just once after his five-year-long absence, many fans thought Wren was already good enough to fight for the title.
Nonetheless, the 34-year-old did not let the hype get over his head as he won his second fight against Juan Torres via a unanimous decision again.
Subsequently, Justin faced Roman Pizzolato in his third fight with Bellator. Like two times before, he won the contest via an arm-triangle choke in the first round.
By this time, almost everybody believed the heavyweight fighter was going to get his much-deserved title shot.
On the contrary, since his last fight against Pizzolato, which took place on 3 March 2017, Wren has not appeared inside the MMA ring due to various unspecified reasons.
However, Justin has still got two fights left in his five-fight contract with Bellator MMA. Thus, we wholeheartedly believe that Wren will make a positive comeback and, who knows, even win the heavyweight championship, just like in the past.
Justin Wren: Age, Height & Body Measurements
The Texas native was born in the year 1987, which makes his age 34 years currently. Even though 34 years may sound like a bit old for an athlete, contrarily, most MMA fighter hit their peak during their mid 30’s.
As a result, we feel that Justin’s best years in the MMA scene are still ahead of him.
Similarly, Justin stands at 6 feet 2 inches tall, which is an acceptable height for a heavyweight fighter.
Wren’s relatively short stature makes it easier for him to dodge punches from other fighters while also helping him quickly move from side to side.
Likewise, Justin weighs 234 lb (106.3 kg), which is the perfect weight according to his height. What most people don’t know is that there is no weight limit in the heavyweight division.
As a result, Justin has to face opponents that might be larger than him regularly. Nonetheless, Wren does not seem fazed by his much larger opponents, as suggested by his outstanding record of 13 wins and two losses.
Justin Wren: Health Issues
Back in March 2017, Justin Wren fought for the last time, and since then, he was out of the ring for two years. However, he is back and stated his time outside the ring doesn’t mean he was retiring.
During his constant trips overseas to Africa have taken a huge toll on Wren’s health. Wren has previously suffered from depression and addiction. Apart from it, he also suffered malaria in November 2013, which later developed into blackwater fever.
Additionally, it was right then when he had 65-70 percent of his blood as parasites. Furthermore, his body temperature also fluctuated a lot, at times rising at 104 degrees which would fall to 96 degrees in a minute.
Moreover, he also couldn’t hold down any food. In the meantime, he also struggled with dengue fever.
“I’m definitely not retired. I had shoulder surgery, and then right I’m now, I’m even kind of exhausted mentally because last week I had an endoscopy; I have some sort of parasite or bacteria, so I picked that up on my last trip. If I do get healthy and focused, I do still have big dreams in MMA, and I still have time.”
Justin Wren: Net Worth & Fight Purse
As of 2021, Justin’s net worth stands at $500,000, accrued mainly through his MMA activities.
Even though the sum is a large amount of money to ordinary people like us, professional athletes in other combat sports like boxing and wrestling earn a lot more. As a result, Wren’s net worth is relatively low.
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Furthermore, Justin earns a base salary of $20,000 per fight, excluding the bonuses with Bellator. Also, the Texas native offers sponsorships to interested parties at various sponsorship levels.
To explain, Wren offers $5,000, $10,000, and a $15,000 sponsorship package to have logos on Justin’s shorts and merchandise. Also, sponsors will get mentioned in press conferences and social media.
However, the Texas native vowed to donate all his earnings to Fight for the Forgotten charity back in 2015.
Therefore, his net worth has not seen a significant rise over the years. Nevertheless, judging by Justin’s talent and good deeds, we hope that he increases his earnings so that more people can get benefits through charity.
Justin Wren: Wife & Kids
Justin is happily married to his beautiful wife, Emily Wren. The couple got married back in 2014 at a small wedding with their close relatives and friend.
However, Wren’s love story is a bit different because, traditionally, it is the male who proposes to the female.
In the case of Justin Wren, his wife Emily proposed to him via a phone call and even recorded the whole conversation.
As of now, the pair has not been blessed with a child. Nonetheless, the love between the couple is pretty evident by Justin’s Instagram posts, where he posts pictures with his lovely wife on their various trips together.
Social Media Presence
Instagram (@thebigpygmy): 158k followers
Twitter (@TheBigPygmy): 33k followers
Facebook (Justin Wren): 39k followers
Justin Wren: FAQs
What is Justin Wren’s MMA record?
Justin Wren’s MMA record is thirteen wins and two losses among the fifteen total games he has played.
Anyways, his wins include six by knockout, four by submission, and three by decision. Likewise, his losses account to one by knockout and one by decision.