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Dolan: Pulver and Out?

In the week since Jens Pulver lost to Urijah Faber at WEC 38 a major question has been looming: has Pulver’s legendary career come to an end? It’s been debated by writers and fans alike across the internet. As great as Pulver has been through the years it seems like the answer is clear, and it’s not the answer that fans or Pulver want to hear.

Back in September of 2006 we were all shocked when Pulver fell victim to Joe Lauzon at just 0:48 of the very first round at UFC 63. At the time it was chalked up as a fluke. Pulver just got caught at the worst time possible but he would be able to bounce back no problem.

Since then Pulver has found himself matched up against some of the top talent in the MMA world, losing to B.J. Penn, Faber (twice), and Leonard Garcia. All of those opponents are top five talent in their respective divisions and there is no shame in losing to them. Pulver’s lone victory came against Cub Swanson way back in December 2007. Despite Swanson’s impressive 13-2 record, the win has done very little for Pulver’s public perception.

With that being said it’s time to piece together the facts. Pulver has lost five of his last six fights. In those losses Pulver has only made it out of the second round once when he went the distance with Faber at WEC 34. The times of his first round losses are as follows; 0:48 (KO), 1:12 (TKO), and 1:34 (submission).

Despite the fact he is facing some of the best talent in the world, it’s obvious Pulver hasn’t been a factor at all in his losses for the most part. At times we’ve see a glimpse of the older Pulver, as we saw in his first encounter with Faber, but that’s all it is, a glimpse.

The sad truth is that in every profession everyone hits the proverbial wall. At some point your production goes down and your time doing what you love reaches its final few seconds. Some will argue that Pulver hasn’t reached that age, but there’s one more thing you must take into consideration.

There’s an idea of having Pulver fight lower level competition that’s been floating around the internet message boards. Allow him to regain his old form by facing the bottom rung of the WEC featherweight division. But is that something you really want to see?

To have him hang onto his fighting career for dear life could be more painful to watch than his last few encounters have been. If he can pile up a few wins it’ll prolong his career what, a few more months, before he has to tangle again with the likes of Faber, Mike Thomas Brown, and Wagnney Fabiano. And when those names are looking at him from across the cage what will the outcome be? Will he be able to conjure up the “Lil’ Evil” of yesteryear? Or will we see what Pulver really is, a legend battling father time?

Pulver will surely have a battle like he’s never been in before over the course of the next few months, but this one will take place in his mind and his soul. Does he still want to keep fighting or can he walk away from the sport that he loves, and what is truly his life?

Surely he would have liked to walk out on top but rarely in sports and life is anyone able to walk away while on the mountain top. Right now we are only at the beginning of the end of Pulver’s career but the road to the end will be a steep and sudden fall. If he were to talk away now we would remember him only as a legend, who fought the best the world had to offer until the very end. But if Pulver is to keep fighting at the level he is right now, the last memories we will have of him will be heartbreaking. We won’t remember the great fighter he once was, we will remember him as someone who couldn’t get out when the time was right.

The fall of a legend is really the last thing any of us want to see. As sad as it is to say, Pulver it’s time to call it a career, a career that many will never be able to replicate.

19 COMMENTS
  • Paulo says:

    I hate to say it because Jens seems like a really nice guy, but I think he has been overrated his entire career. He only has one truly significant win (BJ Penn) and has been riding of the coattails of that win for years.I certainly don’t see him as a legend.

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  • dedstrk says:

    I’d like to see him get some real good training time in with Hume before writing him off. He”ll always be one of my favorites because of what he’s overcome in his life and for what a classy guy he is.

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  • Jgrose23 says:

    Paulo, you are out of your mind! Pulver is CLEARLY a legend in the fight game. He has had sustained succes over a long career. The tough thing with Pulver is that he is 145er fighting at 155 a lot, but there has never been the depth at 145 like there is now. I would be willing to wager that if you put “peak” Pulver against Urijah now, Jens wins. He has been a great ambassador for the sport and has a very impressive resume. I hope he sticks around, even if not fighting, in some form. The sport would miss him.

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  • john says:

    WOW, strong statement there PAULO, i believe he is a legend

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  • Lord Faust says:

    To be fair, Pulver had a mountain of personal issues to try and push to the back of his mind while training to fight one of the best fighters his current weight division has ever seen. I don’t put that forward as an excuse of any sort, but I would like to see Jens at least get a chance to have one last fight, hopefully with a clearer mind.

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  • BigDave says:

    Pulver is now and always will be in my top 3 fav fighters. He has had a great career that im not sure is over yet. he has hit a bump in the road but i think the biggest question out there is not pulvers ability but does he really have the desire to keep fighting. At 38 years old we all know he is nearing the end of his fighting career but im not ready to say he is done yet. lets see who he is in with next and take it from there. Even if he does leave the inside of the cage he will never leave the sport fully he will be training guys for years to come. and if the guys he trains have half the heart that lil evil has then his legacy in the sport will grow with them.

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  • JollyDV says:

    BigDave- Your last sentence is spot on.

    BTW Jens is 34 years old.

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  • jj says:

    anyone who can go five rounds with uriah fabre to a decision is not overrated.

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  • screwface says:

    i hope pulver never sees this article, as much as u tried to show him respect it was still insulting. fighting is all he knows, and todays mma fighters arent independent millionaires where retirement is really a viable option. as long as the fans are there and as long as the money is there, pulver u keep fighting. if anything he just needs to make a drastic camp change. hes learned all he can on his own with his current camp, and todays fighters who grew up watching him are just evolving more at a rapid pace. hes no where near done, and 34 is still young. articles like this are what contributes to the mental aspect where hes currently lacking, and understandably so. im sure pulver has made a lotta friends in other fighters in other camps and has gained the respect of many trainers who wish they had a chance to take him over the hump. your not done pulver by any means. its just time to branch out. if you cant beat em, join em. people still believe in you pulver. dont give up, theres no better teacher then a loss. if i were him id get with fabers peeps or look into team couture. just my thoughts ;)

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  • CubanLinx69 says:

    @screwface: for the most part you’re spot on, except the changing of camps since just started training with Matt Hume.

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  • mu_shin says:

    Pulver’s legacy has a lot to do with bringing attention to the lighter weight divisions in MMA. Without Jens, I don’t think you have Uriah Faber as a superstar, with all the notoriety he’s gained. Have to agree with JJ, the first Faber/Pulver debacle proved Jens has life left in him, but the second fight was a wake up call. Jens has a crossroads in front of him, and which ever way he chooses to go, I don’t think there is any denying he has been an MMA pioneer, and he might even warrant consideration for the Hall Of Fame.

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  • mikemick says:

    His career isn’t over. His career as a champion is however. Pulver is in the unfortunate situation where Penn is the UFC lightweight champ, and Faber is in the WEC featherweight division (even if he isn’t champ). Those guys are monsters. I find no shame in losing back to back to Faber. If his career was over, it was before the Faber fight. Getting whooped by Faber isn’t a career ending loss…it is what is expected.

    @Jgrose23
    I have to disagree that Pulver at the top of his game could beat Faber. He was champ in a different era. The sport was much smaller then, with less competitors, and the skillsets just weren’t what they are today. I’m not sure the Pulver of old could beat the Pulver of today.

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  • Demie says:

    According to an interview from a few weeks ago, Pulver trained at a gym located in a fucking shopping mall outside Tacoma, possibly with local amateurs. He had no chance of being ready for Faber and it’s a miracle that he didn’t look like a total chump last weekend.

    Pulver is only ready for retirement if this shows that he’s not motivated anymore. Supposedly, he’s been having some hard times and really wants to train fully with Matt Hume. But given that he was training for one of his biggest fights, I have to wonder what stopped him from getting to Kirkland (30ish miles north). Is he totally broke? Family emergencies?

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  • Rich S. says:

    Pulver is DEFINITELY a legend in the sport. whether he has more notable wins than beating BJ or not doesn’t matter, he was the first ever lightweight champion in the UFC. That is a title that no one in the sport can ever get again, and will forever stay with him..

    And he has definitely paid his dues at one of the greatest camps in all of MMA, the Miletich Fighting Systems, helping other fighters become world champions..

    As for his current situation, i think he can definitely get back on the winning side.. i think he needs to focus more on his ground game.. he’s got a decent ground game, we just never see it cause he feels he MUST strike.. and at this point in his career, the striking needs to be pushed down and the grappling needs to come up.. We’ve seen his chin get weaker and weaker over the years.. It started with Gomi, then Sakurai, then Lauzon, he was dominated and almost put out by Faber in the first fight, then Garcia, and of course Faber’s striking is what led him to the 2nd victory..

    Look at Pulver/Swanson for a second.. It was understood that if someone got knocked out, Pulver would be the winner, and if someone got submitted, Swanson would be the winner.. Pulver went out there, and from a routine sprawl, wrapped on a sick ass d’arce-like guillotine, and won by submission in 35 seconds.. Does that not stand out to anyone other than myself? That’s amazing..

    If he fights again, he needs to put his ego on the backburner [which seems to be impossible for fighters these days] and take his opponent down.. I’m willing to guarantee that if he wrestled his next opponent, he’d win..

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  • john serf says:

    fuck u paulo u asswipe bitch. fuck u shithead.

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  • htown-chris says:

    pulver is absolutely a legend in the history books of mma. whether or not he is finished is an entirely different question. i would hate to see him hang it up, but i also woudnt want to see him continue if his skills are so far diminished that he cannot successfuly fight at an elite level. jens pulver is a legend simply for the fact he would fight anybody anywhere anytime.

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  • Karrina Huff says:

    I felt so bad for Jens when he was crying after the fight and then that commentator asked him if he was still relevant.How rude was that?
    I think WEC should give him one lesser known opponent at least depending on how many fights he has on his contract.If he wants to fight in smaller orgs I think it’s great.He’s still and always will be a pioneer like Dan Severn or Shamrock.

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  • screwscrewface says:

    The only real point you made is that he will continue to fight because fighting is the only thing he knows. If he keeps fighting top competition because he has name recognition he is eventually going to have health problems. Its not safe for a fighter just like wanderlei to get repeatedly knocked the f out. I’m not a hater I hope he sticks around as a commentator, but a new camp is not going to make him faster and we all can see that he is a couple steps slower than before because of age or just getting ko’d. I don’t see pulver even beating swanson or a lower level WEC fighter. Sure as hell hope he doesnt get matched up with jose aldo to give aldo more star power, that will end badly

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  • jasonah says:

    Him and Chuck are in the same boat.The Legeneds just dont have it no more.There is a new breed of M.M.A fighter.Does anyone think that pulver or liddell is going to go on a win streak anytime soon.Especiallly ,facing top level competition.No one Want’s to see either one of the pull a” Shamrock “Tthe only reason I think Ken still fight’s Is he never made Enough money in his carerr to be set for the rest of his life.Sure Shamrock has a Gym and probably scrapes a decent living with that.Pulver on the other hand has no Gym, And spent 85% of his carerr fighting for scratch.And we all know how Chuck rolls.He has made millions of dollars,fighting.Last I heard Buster Douglas was a Janitor@ a High school.

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