What is your real name and your nickname, and do either have any meaning?
John “THE SAINT” Renken, I started fighting while I was in Bible College to become a minister. Miguel from hook n shoot named me the Saint. Now I am a full time pastor in Clarksville, TN.
Are you married and if so, how long has it been? What do you like the best about your wife? Do you have any children, what are their names and ages?
I am married and have been so for 5 years. I love my wife. She comes to all the fights she can. She has always supported my fighting habit and she actually loves watching the UFC’s and Pride’s with all of the guys from our gym and I.I just had a my first child and his name is Samuel Joshua Renken
Do you have any pets, what kind of animals are they, and what are their names?
I have two Siberian huskies named Sonja and Whit.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I have always wanted to be a warrior. When I was in third grade I was introduced to Norse Mythology and Thor always kicked ass. Ever since then I wanted to be a warrior. I joined the army in 1993 and went to ranger school and airborne school. Then I got out of the army and started competing in MMA.
What would you say is your fighting base (starting point)?
I actually started martial arts in Kung Fu and then Tae Kwon Do. After watching the UFC I started training Judo
What kind of music or musical artists do you like?
I like hard-core, jazz, and classical.
Would you prefer to have an SUV, a sports car, or a truck? Do you have a dream vehicle?
I like the Saturn SUV
What is your favorite food? What is your favorite Movie and CD?
Thai Food is my favorite. Definitely the Matrix for a movie and maybe Chevelle’s new CD
Has MMA made you a celebrity, do you have any groupies or fanatics?
Yes I have a few. When I was in bible college it was funny, because the first year before anyone new me, they only knew I fought…it was like I was the Anti-Christ and my second year it was like I was the messiah because I was a MMA fighter.
Name 3 things that you really dislike.
Organized RELIGION, RELIGION, and RELIGION
What organization(s)/ promotion(s) have you participated in? (Including other sports organizations like K1 or the NFL etc.)
Pride, Shooto, Pancrase, Fightzone, SuperBrawl, Hook n Shoot, Extreme Challenge, X-treme Shootout, IFC, SFC, Bushido, BattleJax, Combate Libre, IVC, Caged Combat, Ultimate Wrestling
What was your first fight like? (Either in the street or in an organization)
OH MY GOD. This is the best. I can’t even remember the name of the event. It was in a cold house in Wisconsin. Dave Menne made his debut as well. IT was like 20 below zero in that house. My feet were frozen and I couldn’t feel them anymore. It was absolutely nuts. But that is how bad I wanted to fight NHB
Which of your fights are you especially proud of?
My knock out of Curtis Stout is one of the highlights of my career.
Which of your fights has been your toughest and why?
Ivan Salaverry. I had been injured off and on and he is tough as hell. He kicked me so damn hard that I thought I was in 2005. The mental aspect and the physical aspect of not getting good training…then the worst came when I saw what he did to Semenov…I thought thank God he killed me with just one KICK!
What is the most painful experience you have ever had in an MMA bout?
Probably one of two different situations, first I was fighting in Caged Combat. I broke my leg in the first fight but I won. My next fight was against Brian Gassaway and he kept kicking me in my broke leg at the end of the fight it was very painful. The next one was just recently in Japan cutting weight…I went to the hospital and had never felt worse in my entire life.
Who is your current favorite fighter(s)?
I have a few. Sean Sherk, Randy Couture, I really like Jeremy Horn, and there are a few of the Shooto guys I really like.
Who would you like to fight the LEAST?
Probably Lindland, because he makes everyone look bad…or Fedor…God I would hate to be hit by that guy
What lesser-known fighter do you think we should be watching?
What is your favorite way to finish a fight, submission or knockout?
It used to be submission, but now that I have had a KO I would like to finish all my fights by striking.
Who would you like to see fight the most?
Josh Barnett vs. Nogueira
Who are you going to fight or whom would you like to fight next?
I am fighting Edwin Dewees and I have a possible match up in the Hook n Shoot May 24th show.
Thank you very much for answering these questions. I wish you well and I hope we can speak again in the future.