Merely a day removed from his longtime rival, BJ Penn retired for the second time and 7 years removed from when the pair went to war in their rematch.
“Little Evil” Jens Pulver (27-19-1) proclaimed he is now retired from the sport of MMA.
Jens announced his retirement on the MMA Hour show to Ariel Helwani.
“It was early in the morning, and we were at the Expo, and I just…you know, I’m done. I was really afraid and I didn’t want to be the guy who says, oh, I’m retired and then I’m come back and do it again. I didn’t really want people…I mean, there’s not much to celebrate. I’m not going to go out with some big send off or anything. So I just kind of fade off into the sunset and be done with it. I just got asked a question and I think, you know me, I’ve always been kind of emotional. And it was just at that moment I was like, yeah, I’m done.”
Pulver won the UFC Lightweight Title in 2001, with a unanimous decision victory over Caol Uno, then defended the strap twice, once against Dennis Hallman, the other in the first bout with BJ Penn.
Penn would avenge the loss at the culmination of TUF 5 where the two were coaches and very outspoken rivals.
“The one thing people do or don’t know, yes, the rivalry was extremely real and it was for a long time. From the first time we fought, he carried that for five years, and then we got to do the Ultimate Fighter and he got to get that revenge.”
Jens went on to win 1 of his next 7 mostly in the WEC, but his won was a 30 second choke over UFC #3 ranked featherweight, Cub Swanson and Jens was able to fight for the title against Urijah Faber at WEC 34.
“You know there’s a part of me that actually said, I should have finished definitely the Faber fight and mentally, I really started suffering. I had issues and it’s sad, and again, I’ll never make excuses, but around that time… I wasn’t training hard. I wasn’t really, I was just kind of going through the motions and fighting. I think that first fight I was ecstatic. When I fought Cub and I then fought Urijah, I was confident, but after that I was just kind of stupid. Just doing a half-shot into a guillotine, and getting submitted then getting arm-barred. You can kind of see it in the documentary. To be honest, right when I made that documentary I should have been done.”
The documentary was known as “Driven” and it was released in 2011.
Jens and Penn alike really brought the smaller classes to the echelon of what they are today and should be remembered as part of the 155 pound and under weight classes founding fathers.