After a tumultuous road to “The Ultimate Fighter”, which included several fights being cancelled due to no-shows, Justin Wren hopped on a last minute flight to Las Vegas, Nevada for the interview portion of “The Ultimate Fighter” selection. The interviews went well and Wren was given the opportunity to participate as one of 16 heavyweights featured on the show’s tenth season.
Wren’s opportunity came with mixed emotions, as he was planning on flying over seas to train and fight. However, the realization that this opportunity was, in fact, a once in a lifetime chance, Wren decided the shot at a UFC contract was definitely worth a couple of months of work.
“I only wanted to go into it if I thought I could win it,” stated Wren. “I thought I could be very competitive and possibly win it. I was excited man. I was pumped up. It was a great experience being on the show.”
Wren is a part of a cast which includes a handful of former NFL stars, many accomplished mixed martial artists, and the Youtube sensation who goes by the name of Kimbo Slice.
However, Slice’s presence was not made known to the other contestants until the very last minute.
In the sneak preview released by the UFC, after all fighters lined up, Dana White announced that there were only 15 fighters present. He then announced Kimbo Slice would also be participating. Kimbo then proceeded to walk into the room as fighters left and right seemed excited to get a shot against him.
“If you see me on that video, I am just smiling ear to ear,” stated Wren. “I was pumped. I just started clapping and I was excited. I’ve been wanting to fight that guy even before I started fighting professionally. To have him in the house was awesome.”
Slice entered the house with more street credibility than anyone else on the show. Yet Wren says that side of Kevin Ferguson is not visible throughout the show.
“He’s really personable,” said Wren. “He’s making jokes with us. He’s cooking dinner for almost all the cast.”
Speaking of dinner, with 16 heavyweights living in the same house the amount of food consumed had to be record-breaking.
“I think we tripled or quadrupled the food budget,” said the young heavyweight. “The season before was 155 pounders and 170 pounders, and they all had to worry about their weight and stuff. It was just a really cool experience to get to eat whatever we wanted whenever we wanted.”
The food consumed may have led to a much larger tab for the UFC, yet the action that comes with the heavyweights will more than make up for the bill.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 features an enormous cast, both in talent and in size. The heavyweight season is set to premiere on Sep. 16, and the hopes are high for what many are considering will be the best season yet.
“Absolutely. This season of the Ultimate Fighter is by far the best season,” stated Wren. “I have been a fan of MMA since I was thirteen, and have been a fan of the show since I was in high school. This is by far the best season.”
While the 16 big guys will certainly garner plenty of viewers, the drama from the reality show brings in quite a few as well. With Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans opposite one another, the coaching drama will reach an all time high. According to Wren, the hatred between the two is extremely genuine.
“I thought the whole thing was an act. I thought they were just trying to sell more tickets, but these guys really do hate each other. They do not like each other one bit. There was one time where me and some of the guys had to pull them off of each other.”
However, hatred aside, Wren credits the two rivals for being excellent coaches.
“They have been where I want to go,” stated Wren. “They have been world champions and just to learn from them, being under their tutelage was just the best.”
With a combination of the coaches’ hatred and the heavyweight action, the tenth installment of the Ultimate Fighter will give the fans what they are looking for, along with giving 16 fighters a chance for further advancement in their young careers.
Along with 15 other guys, Justin Wren entered the “Ultimate Fighter” house, bringing with him great size, skill, and heart to match. With those three qualities, he could very well leave that house as the winner.
Yet regardless of the end result, the future holds big things for this heavyweight, as he takes on the most competitive cast of “Ultimate Fighter” hopefuls the series has ever had.