The UFC announced during the broadcast of UFC 284 that the first ever Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver will finally be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this July during International Fight Week.
A pioneer of mixed martial arts, Jens Pulver's presence was instrumental to the development of the lighter-weight classes in the sport. A king of overcoming adversity, Pulver was never supposed to achieve all of the success he did. He was never supposed to win the inaugural UFC Lightweight title, have a rivalry for the ages with BJ Penn, or defeat some of the greatest fighters of all time.
From a young age, Jens battled a lot of inner demons, including an abusive and alcoholic father. He found a second home with wrestling, and soon entered the mixed martial arts world.
Fighting in PRIDE, UFC, WEC, and ONE, Jens traveled all around the world to fight the very best. Pulver's all-time career moment was all the way back at UFC 30, where he defeated Caol Uno to become the first-ever Lightweight champion. He defended the belt twice against Dennis Hallman and BJ Penn, but contractual issues with the UFC prompted him to leave the promotion.
After his second tenure with the UFC, Pulver found a home with the WEC, where he fought some of the best fighters in the world including Cub Swanson, Leonard Garcia, and fought for a title against Urijah Faber. After his time with the WEC, Pulver would find himself in a lot of different promotions, but for the final chapter in his careeer, he fought in ONE, where he earned his only victory vs Yanfei Zhao at ONE FC 6. It was certaintly was an unusual method of victory as he brutally suffered an injury to his groin after being kicked. After some recovery time, the bout was ultimately decided by the judges scorecards, in which Pulver was awarded the decision win.
Pulver's career was defined by many moments. Whether you see him as the first-ever Lightweight champion, remember him coaching The Ultimate Fighter, or defeating legends like BJ Penn, Joe Stevenson, Caol Uno, and Cub Swanson, there is no doubt in anyone's mind that "Lil Evil," left his mark on the sport, and will forever go down as one of the all-time greats.