Height: 5'7" (171cm)
Weight: 139 lbs
Camp: Miletich Fighting Systems
Jens Pulver Tweets
Jens Johnnie "Lil Evil" Pulver (born December 6, 1974 in Sunnyside, Washington) is an American mixed martial artist (MMA). He was the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, and was a coach on the The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality show, which aired on Spike TV. He is currently signed as a featherweight with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), which is owned by Zuffa (the parent company of the UFC).
Pulver began competing in the UFC in September 1999. He fought four times in the UFC before gaining a title shot against top ranked Japanese Fighter Caol Uno in February 2001. Pulver won the title by unanimous decision, becoming the first UFC World Lightweight Champion. He defended his title twice (against Dennis Hallman and B.J. Penn) before leaving the organization due to contractual problems. Pulver became famous for his combination of defensive wrestling and boxing strategies colloquially called "sprawl and brawl" in MMA circles.
His first match in PRIDE was against current-PRIDE lightweight (160 lb) champion Takanori Gomi. Though he would lose this fight, his toughness and striking ability were immediately apparent to both the fans and the promoters. This led to a match against Tomomi Iwama, which he dominated by knocking out his opponent one minute into the fight with a single left hook.
He then faced Japanese star Hayato Sakurai, who would go on to win in a fast paced see-saw affair that showcased both the toughness and heart of Pulver, and the experience and technicality of Sakurai. During the fight, Pulver was accidentally thumbed in the eye by Sakurai, which left a corneal abrasion on his eye. During the fight Pulver can be seen repeatedly rubbing his eye and wincing in pain. Despite being temporarily blinded in one eye, Pulver nearly knocked out Sakurai with a left hook in the latter part of the first round. Sakurai eventually won by TKO 8:56 into the fight.
His final fight in PRIDE, against Kenji Arai, was an entertaining battle of strikers which ended when Pulver knocked Arai down with a right-left combination, and finished him with a soccer kick to the head, earning the TKO.
At UFC 63 Pulver returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the newly reinstated lightweight division. He was matched up against UFC-newcomer Joe Lauzon. Pulver was a 7:1 favorite to win the match, but Lauzon quickly defeated the former Lightweight Champion by knockout at the 48-second mark of the first round. After the fight, Pulver apologized for his performance, and indicated that he still desired to make his UFC comeback.
Pulver was a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 5 reality television show, which hosted sixteen lightweight fighters, including Joe Lauzon. His counterpart on the show, and rival coach, was B.J. Penn . The two coaches were scheduled to fight in the season finale, in which Pulver was defeated by a rear naked choke in the second round. After the fight, Pulver announced his intentions to drop down to featherweight and fight in the WEC.
On July 17, 2007, it was announced Pulver would be making his World Extreme Cagefighting debut against Cub Swanson at WEC 30 on September 5, 2007. Pulver had to pull out of the match with Cub Swanson due to a knee injury. The fight was subsequently rescheduled for the December 12th World Extreme Cagefighting card. Pulver won the rescheduled match by anaconda choke at 35 seconds of the first round and announced his intentions to make a run for the 145 lb title which Urijah Faber currently held and had defended successfully against Jeff Curran on the same card.
Pulver and Faber met at WEC 34 on June 1, 2008. Neither man was able to finish the other and the fight went the full five rounds. The judges scored the bout a unanimous decision for Faber, 50-45, 50-44 and 50-44. This fight marked both the first time that one of Pulver's fights at featherweight had gone to decision, the first time Pulver had been defeated at that weight class, and also the first time one of Faber's fights in the WEC had gone the distance. Pulver stated after the fight that he wanted another shot at the title, but wanted "to earn it".
Pulver next fought Leonard Garcia at WEC 36 on November 5th after the original date of September 10th was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Ike. He suffered at TKO loss in the first round as the Greg Jackson trained Leonard Garcia stunned Pulver with a left-right combination then finished Pulver with more strikes as he went to one knee against the fence.
At WEC 38, Pulver lost to Faber in a rematch of their WEC 34 encounter when Jens succumbed to a guillotine choke in the first round.