|Association||Driven Training Center|
|Weight Class||Lightweight (155 lbs.) / Featherweight (145 lbs.)|
|Height||5' 7" (170 cm)|
|Birth Date||December 6, 1974|
|Fighting Out Of||Bettendorf, Iowa|
|Jens Pulver Pictures||http://www.jenspulver.com/|
Jens Johnnie "Lil Evil" Pulver is an American mixed martial artist. 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 competed as a featherweight with World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), which is owned by Zuffa (the parent company of the UFC), until losing five consecutive fights and being released from the promotion.
|Record||27 - 17 - 1 (Win – Loss – Draw)|
|Win||Ya Fei Zhao||Technical Decision (Unanimous)||One FC 6: Rise of Kings||10/6/2012||3||5:00||One FC Bantamweight Grand Prix Opening Round; Couldn't continue following low blow|
|Loss||Eric Kelly||TKO (Kicks to the Body and Punches)||One FC 5: Pride of a Nation||8/31/2012||2||1:46|
|Win||Jesse Thornton||Decision (Unanimous)||Cage Warrior Combat: Operation Fight Night||4/14/2012||3||5:00|
|Loss||Tim Elliot||TKO (Knee)||RFA 1: Resurrection Fight Alliance||12/16/2011||2||2:12|
|Win||Coty Wheeler||TKO (Punches)||MMA Fight Pit: Genesis||8/13/2011||2||1:59|
|Loss||Brian Davidson||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||Titan Fighting Championships 18||5/27/2011||1||4:04||Catchweight Bout (140 lbs)|
|Win||Wade Choate||Decision (Split)||CCC: Chicago Cagefighting Championship||3/05/2011||3||5:00|
|Win||Mike Lindquist||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||XFO: Xtreme Fighting Organization 38||1/22/2011||1||0:49|
|Loss||Diego Garijo||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||PWP: War on the Mainland||8/14/2010||1||1:08||Lightweight bout|
|Loss||Javier Vazquez||Submission (Armbar)||WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz||3/06/2010||1||3:41||After five consecutive losses, Pulver was released by Zuffa|
|Loss||Josh Grispi||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber 2||6/07/2009||1||0:33|
|Loss||Urijah Faber||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone||1/25/2009||1||1:34|
|Loss||Leonard Garcia||TKO (Punches)||WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown||11/05/2008||1||1:12|
|Loss||Urijah Faber||Decision (Unanimous)||WEC 34: Faber vs. Pulver||6/01/2008||5||5:00||For WEC Featherweight Championship; Won Fight of the Night Honors|
|Win||Cub Swanson||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||WEC 31: Faber vs. Curran||12/12/2007||1||0:35||WEC debut; return to Featherweight|
|Loss||B.J. Penn||Submission (Rear Naked Choke)||The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale||6/23/2007||2||3:12|
|Loss||Joe Lauzon||KO (Punch)||UFC 63: Hughes vs. Penn||9/23/2006||1||0:48||Return to the UFC after a 4 year absence|
|Win||Cole Escovedo||KO (Punch)||IFL: Legends Championship 2006||4/29/2006||1||0:56||IFL Super-fight; unaffiliated with IFL team system|
|Win||Kenji Arai||KO (Soccer Kick)||PRIDE Bushido 10||4/02/2006||1||3:59|
|Loss||Hayato Sakurai||TKO (Punches)||PRIDE Bushido 9||9/25/2005||1||8:56|
|Win||Tomomi Iwama||KO (Punch)||PRIDE Bushido 7||5/22/2005||1||1:00|
|Loss||Takanori Gomi||KO (Punch)||PRIDE: Shockwave 2004||12/31/2004||1||6:21||PRIDE debut; Return to Lightweight|
|Win||Stephen Palling||KO (Punches)||Shooto Hawaii: Soljah Fight Night||7/09/2004||3||1:47|
|Win||Naoya Uematsu||KO (Punch)||Shooto: 3/22 in Korakuen Hall||3/22/2004||1||2:09|
|Win||Richard Hess||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||IFC: Battleground Boise||10/25/2003||1||2:14|
|Win||Joe Jordan||KO (Punch)||EC 52: Extreme Challenge 52||8/15/2003||2||3:12||Featherweight debut|
|Loss||Jason Maxwell||TKO (Punches)||HOOKnSHOOT: Absolute Fighting Championships 3||5/24/2003||1||4:54|
|Loss||Duane Ludwig||KO (Punch)||UCC 12: Adrenaline||1/25/2003||1||1:13||For UCC World Lightweight Championship|
|Win||Takehiro Murahama||Decision (Split)||UFO: Legend||8/08/2002||3||5:00|
|Win||Robert Emerson||Decision (Unanimous)||UW: Ultimate Wrestling||6/09/2002||3||5:00|
|Win||B.J. Penn||Decision (Majority)||UFC 35: Throwdown||1/11/2002||5||5:00||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship; Vacates title|
|Win||Dennis Hallman||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 33: Victory in Vegas||9/28/2001||5||5:00||Defended UFC Lightweight Championship|
|Win||Caol Uno||Decision (Unanimous)||UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk||2/23/2001||5||5:00||Won UFC Bantamweight (155 lbs.) Championship; Later renamed to Lightweight|
|Win||John Lewis||KO (Punch)||UFC 28: High Stakes||11/17/2000||1||0:15|
|Win||Dave Gries||KO||Gladiators 10||10/14/2000||N/A||N/A|
|Loss||Din Thomas||Submission (Heel Hook)||WEF: New Blood Conflict||8/26/2000||2||0:33|
|Win||Joao Roque||Decision||UFC 26: Ultimate Field of Dreams||6/09/2000||3||5:00|
|Win||Eric Hibler||KO (Knees and Punches)||WEF 9: World Class||5/13/2000||1||1:54|
|Win||David Velasquez||TKO||UFC 24: First Defense||3/10/2000||2||2:41|
|Win||Phil Johns||KO (Punch)||WEF 8: Goin' Platinum||1/15/2000||1||0:33|
|Draw||Alfonso Alcarez||Draw||UFC 22: There Can Be Only One Champion||9/24/1999||2||5:00||UFC debut|
|Win||Joe Stevenson||KO (Punch)||BRI 3: Bas Rutten Invitational 3||6/01/1999||1||0:38|
|Win||Ray Morales||Submission (Guillotine Choke)||BRI 3: Bas Rutten Invitational 3||6/01/1999||1||0:51|
|Loss||David Harris||Submission (Toe Hold)||BRI 2: Bas Rutten Invitational 2||4/24/1999||1||11:57|
|Win||Curtis Hill||TKO (Towel)||BRI 2: Bas Rutten Invitational 2||4/24/1999||1||3:00|
The son of a licensed horse jockey, Pulver grew up in a five-bedroom, two-story rambler in Maple Valley, Washington (approximately one half hour drive from Seattle). He was the oldest of four children (two brothers, Dustin and Abel, and one sister, Jamaica). Pulver has heterochromia, a harmless medical condition that gives eyes different colors; in Pulver's case his right eye is blue, while his left eye is brown.
Pulver was raised in what he referred to as a "daily hell." His childhood house was one of continual violence and abuse, stemming mostly from his alcoholic father. Many examples of the abuse Pulver faced as a youth are depicted in his autobiography, "Little Evil: One Ultimate Fighter’s Rise to the Top," the most extreme of which include an incident where his father threatened the then-seven-year-old Jens by placing a gun in Pulver’s mouth and then removing it, stating, “you aren’t worth the bullets.”
Pulver is the subject of the book NEVER by Timothy McKinnon, which discusses his lifelong struggles and successes with depression, family, and religion, all of which are inextricably entwined with his career as a professional MMA fighter.
Martial Arts Background
The summer before he entered sixth grade, Pulver was introduced to a friend of the family, Jack Vantress. Vantress encouraged Pulver to join a youth wrestling program. He went on to wrestle at Tahoma High School in Maple Valley, earning two state championships. Pulver wrestled for Highline Community College where he became an NAIA All-American by placing in the top eight at the NAIA National Championships. He then wrestled for Boise State University, before an injury (bilateral fracture of the wrists) eventually ended his amateur wrestling career. Pulver eventually graduated from BSU with a degree in criminal justice.
While in college, Pulver's interests shifted from wrestling to mixed martial arts. He found early success fighting in unsanctioned “underground” events, before befriending Lowell Anderson, the owner of a [[[Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu]] (BJJ) academy ninety miles north of Boise, Idaho. Lowell got Pulver involved in sanctioned MMA events, namely the Bas Rutten Invitational in April 1999. Pulver won one match, then lost the second due to his lack of martial arts training. He fought again in the third incarnation of the Bas Rutten Invitational, winning both his fights and impressing then-UFC matchmaker, John Perretti.
During his early MMA career, Pulver trained with the Shamrock 2000 team, but eventually found his home with the Miletich Fighting Systems, a prolific group that then included former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
Mixed Martial Arts Career
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.
Pulver vs. Hallman
Following a second win over Hughes, Hallman dropped down a weight class and fought Pulver for the Lightweight Championship in September 2001. Pulver and Hallman had both wrestled in the same state (Washington) in high school. In pre-fight interviews, Hallman claimed to personally know and dislike Pulver, but Pulver denied any personal relationship, instead asserting that he only knew Hallman as a fellow state high school wrestling champion.
During the fight, Hallman secured an armbar on Pulver, but Pulver countered the technique and later landed a left hook flush on Hallman's chin. Hallman fought passively for the remainder of the fight, seemingly unable to recover completely from that blow, and Pulver eventually won by unanimous decision.
Pulver vs. Penn
Pulver’s second title defense came against B.J. Penn. Before his transition to mixed martial arts, Penn was the most highly decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in America and the first American-born to win the World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Mundials).
Upon his impressive debut against wrestler Joey Gilbert (a first round TKO), Penn rose quickly through the rankings. Penn, already known for his grappling, quickly stunned the MMA community by showcasing incredible striking skills; quickly knocking out highly regarded Din Thomas, then knocking out Caol Uno within eleven seconds of the first round. Heading into the fight with Pulver, Penn had never fought longer than the first round. The speed in which Penn was defeating opponents had many MMA journalists saying he was unbeatable.
Pulver’s performance in the fight is considered the high point of his career. Penn pressed the action early; taking Pulver to the mat numerous times, achieving a full mount on him twice in the second round, and securing a straight armbar, completely hyper-extending Pulver’s arm as the seconds ticked off the clock ending the second round.
Pulver battled back in the third round, successfully defending Penn’s attempts to take him to the ground, and even scoring defensive takedowns on Penn. Pulver frustrated Penn with nothing more than sheer will power, not only winning the later rounds, but out-grappling the world-renowned Penn. In the fifth round, Penn, frustrated and down on points, chose to stand and trade with Pulver. For the entire five minutes of the fifth round the two stood toe to toe exchanging strikes. With 45 seconds left in the round, a left hand from Pulver staggered Penn, who looked in trouble. However, Penn countered with a right kick straight to the groin, resulting in a 50 second time-out. Although the time-out gave Penn time to recover, when the bout was restarted, Pulver staggered him a second time with 20 seconds remaining. However, the round drew to a conclusion and the fight went into the judges' hands.
Pulver won the fight via majority decision. Breaking into tears during the post-fight interview, Pulver shouted, “On the ground again!...I’ve been beat on my whole life, this is nothing.”
Leaving the UFC
After leaving the UFC Pulver's career slumped slightly with two consecutive losses. He regained his winning ways by dropping down a weight class (to 145 lb). Along the same time, Pulver also began competing as a professional boxer, winning all four of his fights in 2004, including a fight on the nationally syndicated USA network. During this time Pulver fought in various other MMA promotions, including Shooto, PRIDE, and the IFL, as well as one match in the Shootboxing kickboxing promotion, where he defeated 2004 Sanda champion Dai Chang Liang. After this match, Pulver moved back up to the lightweight division in December 2004 in the Pride Fighting Championships.
His first match in PRIDE was against then current, and the last champion of, 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.
Return to the UFC
At UFC 63 Pulver returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 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. He also made overtures toward Penn to set aside their differences and train together.
On July 17, 2007, it was announced Pulver would be making his World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) 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 fought Urijah Faber in a rematch of their WEC 34 encounter. Faber had just lost his title to American Top Team's Mike Brown, so this was his first fight since losing hist title. Jens succumbed to a guillotine choke in the first round to lose their rematch.
After his second loss to Faber, Pulver replaced Frank Mir as color commentator for World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) at WEC 39. He then appeared in the crowd of WEC 40: Torres vs. Mizugaki with his new born baby.
The day after WEC 40, it was announced that Pulver's next fight would take place at WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber 2 against up and comer Josh Grispi. The fight lasted 33 seconds before Pulver went in for a takedown and Grispi secured a tight Guillotine Choke, handing Pulver his fourth straight loss. A very emotional Pulver said that this may have been his last fight and he thanked the crowd, where he received a standing ovation.
To many people's surprise, Pulver announced that he would not retire, but would return to the WEC, more prepared than ever. Pulver stated that he has a new approach to training, which he credits to a split from his old training partners at the famed Miletich Fighting Systems camp and starting his own gym, Driven Training Center, along with head trainer Tony Fryklund.
- "We can talk about MFS, but I'm not going to rip, I'm not going to make fun. I'm just saying for me, I'm very happy I finally have gameplans and stuff again. I'm not out there just to throw punches and bang and whatever happens, happens. Whenever I've done anything great, it's been with Tony Fryklund in my corner."
Pulver returned to action on March 6, 2010 at WEC 47: Bowles vs. Cruz, where he faced off against former KOTC Lightweight Champion, Javier Vazquez, who was on a two fight slide. Pulver landed a few leg kicks early, but his trademark left hand wouldn't find its mark before Vazquez was able to drag the fight to the floor and into his preferred area of attack. Pulver scrambled on the mat and tried to resist, but Vazquez was able to swiftly switch from the back to the top to side control – each position a little more dominant than the next. It seemed to be simply a matter of time before Pulver succumbed to the pressure, and that time came at the 3:41 mark, where Vazquez sunk in an Armbar. The loss was Pulver's fifth straight loss, and once again he hinted at retirement.
Instead of retirement, Pulver was released by Zuffa in the end of May 2010. Many speculated that he would do some form of broadcasting for the company, but Dana White went on record saying that was not the case.
- "On the record, you can tell the whole world this: I love the UFC, I love the WEC, I love Zuffa," Pulver said. "But I'm 0-5 (in my last five fights), so I get it. I'm a fighter. Fact is, I've been around a lot longer than these guys today, and I don't make as much money as them. I'm 0-5, and that's something I've got to fix with me -- but I can't take a year off to work on it. I've gotta fight."
Pulver's first scheduled fight since being released by Zuffa took place on August 14, 2010 at a Powerhouse World Promotions event. He returned to Lightweight for the fight and took on Diego Garijo. Garijo caught Pulver with an early left hand and immediately latched on to a Guillotine Choke, which forced the tap in just 68 seconds. At this point, Pulver had dropped six straight fights and eight of his past ten.
Jens has a four year old daughter named Madeline, and is married to his longtime girlfriend Kannika. The couple had their first child together, a son named Karson Jens Pulver on December 16, 2008. During the post fight interview after his first loss to Faber, he announced that he and his wife were expecting a child and that they had had a miscarriage scare.
Jens is an avid PC gamer, who has played World of Warcraft and Call of Duty 4. He recently appeared on the December 7th episode of the PC Gamer Podcast.
- Pulver, Jens and Krauss, Erich (2003) Little Evil, One Ultimate Fighter’s Rise to the Top, ECW Press
- First UFC Lightweight Champion