South Texas College history major and former wrestler turned Mixed Martial Arts fighter Javier Rendon will make his professional debut in South Texas Fighting Championship 23 when he steps into the octagonal cage on Dec. 7, 2012 at the McAllen Convention Center to face Vernon Lewis in a heavyweight bout.
With a 3-0 amateur MMA record, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Rendon looks to take advantage of his training, past experience, and hometown crowd against the 6-foot-3, 245-pound Lewis (0-2).
“I’m excited because it’s going to be the first time STFC is going to have heavyweights,” said Rendon. “Most of their fights are from 205 pounds and down. I’m excited for my pro debut. I’ve wanted to get back into the cage again and I’m really excited about it, and to be able to fight in front of a hometown crowd is great.”
Rendon, 21, is relatively new to the Rio Grande Valley, but he’s quickly made himself at home. Born in Muscatine, Iowa and a graduate of West Liberty High School, Rendon was a four-year football player and wrestler.
In a state that has produced some of the best grapplers in the world, Rendon placed fourth at the Iowa state championships when he was a junior and was a state runner up in his senior year.
“Football down here is like wrestling up there,” said Rendon.
After high school, Rendon attended Upper Iowa University and wrestled in NCAA Division II. He got the opportunity to fight amateur MMA while training other fighters at a local gym in Iowa.
“I always wrestled when I was younger,” explained Rendon. “I went to a gym in Iowa and was training, but mainly helping out with those guys with wrestling. Then, the opportunity came up to fight, and I took it and it’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since.”
Shortly after his mother moved to the Valley to be close to family, he followed and enrolled at STC in spring 2012.
“I was living in Iowa and wanted a change,” said Rendon. “I have family down here and they told me about STC. The cost is very affordable. You can’t beat it for the education you’re getting.”
“I like the atmosphere with my instructors,” he added. “They work with you and you can ask them questions, and they help you out. The schedule works out for me too, especially being able to take online classes so that I can work, that really helped me out.”
Rendon explored what STC has to offer and he eventually landed at the Pecan Campus Wellness Center, where he continued his training and began taking Jiu-Jitsu classes with STC Student Activities Coordinator Armando Ponce. He also took classes at Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu in McAllen.
“I feel I’ll have my advantage on the ground with the grappling,” he said. “I’ve wrestled my whole life and I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu with Armando Ponce and Gracie Barra for the past year now. But I’ve also been training very hard in the stand-up game with boxing and Muay Thai.”
Rendon would like to make MMA a career, but he realizes that no matter what he decides to do that education is key.
“It’s a rush, it’s exciting. It’s like going on a rollercoaster ride. It’s something I love to do, it’s a passion of mine,” said Rendon about MMA fighting. “Right now, my studies are first. I go to class and make sure all my studies are done, then I go to the gym and train.”
“Eventually, I would like to make this a career, if possible,” he concluded. “But if not, you need an education no matter what. Even if it works out, I can’t fight forever. I need something to fall back on and STC will help me have that.”