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.