The first ever Lightweight Champion Jens Pulver retired this Sunday, right before his biggest rival BJ Penn retired Sunday night. Pulver spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour to talk about his retirement.
It was early in the morning, and we were at the [UFC Fan] Expo, and I just…you know, I’m done,” he told Ariel Helwani. “I was really afraid. 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 no 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.”
“The one thing people do or don’t know, yes, the rivalry was extremely real,” he said. “It was 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.
“But we got to talk after that, and man, I love him. Nothing says brother like punching each other in the face. So when I watched him fight, I didn’t know what to think. I didn’t get it. I was happy that he made 145, but I guess in my mind I think the fight for him was making 45. After that he kind of just shut down. I understand it, because it was a battle making 135. Woohoo. But the reality was he was up on his feet and there was no life, there was no activity. I didn’t understand what he was doing. It was like, man, you know this guy. You bring your feet together and you know he’s going to shoot for a takedown.”
“You know there’s a part of me that actually said, I should have finished definitely the Faber fight,” he said. “Mentally, I really started suffering. I had issues. 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 [Swanson] 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, getting arm-barred. You can kind of see it in the documentary [“Driven”]. To be honest, right when I made that documentary I should have been done.”