Jens “Little Evil” Pulver is a former UFC Lightweight champion and one of the coaches of the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show on Spike TV.
Sporting a 21-7-1 pro MMA record, Pulver holds a victory over his fellow coach of The Ultimate Fighter this season, the former UFC Welterweight champion B.J. Penn. The two have exchanged a war of words in the media since their meeting back in January of 2002 and fueled what UFC president calls the best season of TUF in show-history.
In the first installment of a two-part exclusive interview with MMANews.com's own Luis Cruz, Pulver discusses his self-admitted hatred for Penn and details an incident that occured during the first day of taping for the series, among other topics. Below is a transcript. Make sure to check back here at MMANews.com tomorrow for part two of this very exciting interview.
JENS PULVER INTERVIEW – PART ONE
Luis Cruz of MMANews.com: This is Luis Cruz and MMANews.com and I'm joined by one of the coaches of this season of The Ultimate Fighter, which is season five. He's the former UFC Lightweight champion, Jens Pulver. Jens, first of all thanks for taking the time to talk with us. How have you been?
Jens Pulver: Hey, I've been good and it's no problem. I've been good man, just admiring life. I'm real good. Right now I'm out here with Robbie Lawler and Matt Pena. Things have been great, things have been great. I'm just kind of waiting for the show to start [I'm a] little anxious, but I've been getting geared up and ready to fight pretty much since I got off the show. Everything's been alright.
MMANews.com: How's Robbie doing?
Jens Pulver: Good, good. He's grouchy ya know because he's losing his weight, but no Robbie Lawler's doing good. Real good. He's geared up – looking to fight. It's gonna be a fun little ordeal.
MMANews.com: Right. That fight is Saturday. Just wanted to remind everyone because that slipped my mind. It's this Saturday, March 31st on ProElite.com.
Jens Pulver: Yeah, it's gonna be a crazy fight. I'm expecting some fireworks. I think if we have our way, we get [Frank] Trigg out before he gets that takedown. We wanna put him in trouble right off the bat and use Robbie's power and his hand-speed to make him move backwards. It's gonna be fun.
MMANews.com: Should be a great fight. Alright before we get to The Ultimate Fighter – what are your thoughts on the current Lightweight champion, Sean Sherk?
Jens Pulver: Oh he's tough. I think he's one of those guys who's got a Matt Hughes kind of thing going for him as far as he's gonna be real tough to stop from …you know he's gonna take you down. It's gonna be real hard to move once he's on top of you doing that ground and pound. He comes in shape and you're just gonna have to be in twice as good of shape to deal with all that wrestling, just to keep him off of you. I think if you wanna get your shots off in the stand-up, you're gonna have to wear him out like [Georges] St. Pierre did to him. St. Pierre made it impossible to take him down and then he started getting lit up. But at 155 [pounds] he's tough. He's tough, he's real tough. I mean more power to him, the bullseye is on him. He's got everybody gunning for him. A lot of people are getting ready to step up and fight him.
MMANews.com: Now I believe his rumored opponent is Hermes Franca, who's supposedly gonna fight him at UFC 72 on July 7th. What do you think of that match-up?
Jens Pulver: I think it's gonna be a good fight. I think Hermes Franca is a strong guy, he likes to throw bombs and he doesn't mind being on the ground, but again it's gonna come down to the same kind of thing – can he move underneath Sean Sherk? Can he move when Sean Sherk is in his guard trying to ground and pound? Can he move Sherk? If he can, Hermes is gonna give him a lot of trouble. If he can get himself in that kind of shape to do all the moving he's gonna have to be doing to keep the fight going. You just can't let Sean Sherk sit on you. That's all there is to it. So it's gonna be a tough fight but I like that one for Hermes. The guy has a big right hand, he throws it with just extreme abandon. I think it's a good fight, I think Hermes is a good opponent and a real good test. Absolutely.
MMANews.com: Did you say you think he's going to win this fight? Who are you picking?
Jens Pulver: Oh, I don't pick [laughs]. I'm just gonna sit back and watch it. I'll be happy for Sean if he defends it. I'll be happy for Hermes if he wins it because he's earned it. He's earned it more than anybody else. I'll be really happy for him if he does pull off that victory, but for me? Hey, as long as the 155 pounders get on the events and have a great fight – that's all I care about.
MMANews.com: What other fighters in the division have you been keeping a close eye on?
Jens Pulver: Me? Nobody.
Jens Pulver: Don't watch any of them. Hey, I don't care.
Jens Pulver: No. I watched that fight with Tyson Griffin and Frank Edgar or whatever. He's good. That's a well-rounded fighter right there. That guy's one of them. He's tough. I just got done watching some of the most talented 155 pound fighters I've ever seen in the reality show. So I'm gonna be watching them as a fan, for sure, for years to come. Other than that I just watch whoever. If they fight, they fight. I haven't been watching just the 155 pound fighters. I care about the weight-class but as far as am I watching everybody because I might have to fight one of them, or am I watching someone because I'm looking to size them up? Nah, I don't care. I just want to see 155 pounders fight, that's it.
MMANews.com: Before your season premieres on Spike, that night there will be an Ultimate Fight Night show. There's two top Lightweights on there as the main-event, Joe Stevenson and Melvin Guillard.
Jens Pulver: Yeah, that's gonna be a sick fight. The agility and explosiveness of Melvin Guillard, if he can throw some stand-up before Joe Stevenson gets his hands on him and takes him down. That's gonna be the, you know, that's gonna be the game right there. Joe is a little more plodding, but when he gets on top of you he opens up and gets the wrestling involved. Good positions and strikes. So Melvin could have some problems on the ground, but getting there – can he hurt you before you get him there? That's gonna be Melvin's thing – his agility and explosiveness. He's quick, just boom – coming at you real fast. I'm excited to see what could happen there, for sure.
MMANews.com: Yeah, definitely a great style match-up.
Jens Pulver: Real good.
Catch Jens Pulver as coach of The Ultimate Fighter 5 beginning April 5th on Spike TV…
MMANews.com: Alright, let's go ahead and get into The Ultimate Fighter…
Jens Pulver: …alright, cool.
MMANews.com: …with you and B.J. Penn as the coaches this year. We actually bumped into you. Me and a friend at PRIDE 33.
Jens Pulver: Yup, I remember.
MMANews.com: He asked you how the season was going and the only thing you commented was you said you didn't like B.J. before the show, but now you hate the guy. You didn't give any other details than that and we didn't press because you obviously can't talk to in-depth about it. But now there's reports out there, a review of the first episode sent out to the media I believe, saying Penn asked fighters to raise their hands if they wanted to be on his team. Kind of put you on the spot and I guess he was trying to embarass you. Is that pretty accurate of what happened and if so, what was going through your mind?
Jens Pulver: Well. Damn, I don't know how you found out [laughs]
Jens Pulver: Episode one is nuts. The show is nuts as far as – I thought B.J. Penn was putting me on the spot from the get-go. I felt he always thought my training was a joke, my coaching. He definitely felt my coaching was a joke. If he thought my fighting was weak, you know, he really didn't give two-shits about my coaching. So he definitely tried to put me on the spot and what could I do, you know? Just take the one's that didn't raise their hands, that's about it. That's all I could do. What else was there to be done? I just had to do my thing. Whether or not that happened, I ain't saying. You're just gonna have to watch and see. But, damn.
Jens Pulver: But I'm saying, from the word go he disrespected my thing as far as being a coach and a fighter, and that's what pissed me off from day one. That's what I didn't like about him and that's what made me mad. I just want to fight him – I'm gonna beat his ass again because of that right there. That's a lack of respect. Yeah, he tried to show me up more than one time. He tries and tries.
MMANews.com: So that was basically what you were talking about when you said you hated him more after the show? He disrespect of your training and the like?
Jens Pulver: Yeah, right there. He put me on the spot to sit there, you know what I'm saying, and try to make me look like a jerk right there and I just had to step up. What was I supposed to do? I'm not gonna sit there and cry. I'm gonna be a big boy about it and move on. This show ain't about me. Obviously someone else misunderstood that when they started. It's about 16 fighters. He can go ahead and do his thing. It'll be on TV. Everyone will see it. You'll see my reaction. And it's a true reaction. I didn't make nothing up for that damn camera, I can tell you that right now. But yeah, that's why I hate him. I hate him for that day right there. He tried to make me look like a joke and tried to make me look stupid every day since.
MMANews.com: Do you truly hate him or is that just your emotions running high?
Jens Pulver: Hey, I hate anyone that don't respect me. I hate anybody that doesn't at least give me the credit that I deserve. Yeah, I don't like him. I don't like him because he don't like me. I'm not gonna lose sleep at night or have any hate posters up, but by the same token yeah I get asked the question, “do I care about B.J. Penn?” No, I hate him. I think he's an idiot and I can't wait to fight him.
Don't forget to catch part two of our exclusive interview with Jens “Little Evil” Pulver here at MMANews.com tomorrow afternoon.
For more information on Jens Pulver or The Ultimate Fighter season five, visit TheUltimateFighter.tv.