The following is part two of our exclusive interview with former UFC Lightweight champion and one of the coaches on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter – Jens “Little Evil” Pulver.
In this the final portion of our interview Penn further discusses his upcoming rematch with B.J. Penn, his thoughts on working with Joe Lauzon on the show, the freakishly tall Corey Hill, surprises during the season and much more.
To read part one of our interview again, click here.
Luis Cruz of MMANews.com: Now most people know you hold a win over him [B.J. Penn] from before the UFC Lightweight division disappeared for a little bit. Do you think that's part of the reason why he acts that way towards you?
Jens Pulver: Oh he's been wanting to fight me since the day I beat him. Of course. The first thing he said was, “hey, now you can't duck me” and I was like, “what do you mean? Duck you, how can I duck you? You went up to 200 pounds, I weigh 155” so it's whatever. But no, I know he's always wanted to beat me. I'm a big glaring glitch in his career, [laughing] you know? Of course that's why the animosity is the way it is from him. That's why he likes to run his mouth. It's just whatever, it happens.
MMANews.com: Now what about you? How much more are you wanting a rematch now than prior to the show?
Jens Pulver: Oh, I want him. I'm glad I get to fight him. That's all there is to it. I'm very happy that it's him I'm fighting. I mean I'm ecstatic. I never wanted to fight anybody worse, I can tell you that. Never been more motiviated to fight somebody. I've never been happier to have the opportunity to fight somebody like I am now. Absolutely. I can't wait to fight him. Every punch is gonna feel good. Every punch I'm gonna be loving life. Every one of them.
MMANews.com: Do you think it's gonna hurt him coming back down to 155 pounds?
Jens Pulver: I don't know. I don't know what's gonna hurt him, but I'll find out. I don't know how it'll effect him. Maybe he'll get geared up, maybe it'll motivate him. Maybe he's amped up to do his thing, I don't know. I'll find out.
MMANews.com: Now let's talk about the fighters from the show real quick. There's a lot of good competitors. Going in, this isn't a spoiler because I'm talking prior to the taping – when you first saw the roster, going in who did you feel was the favorite to win?
Jens Pulver: I didn't really have a favorite. There was some people I was excited to see. There was some faces that I recognized, of course. So I was happy, I was like “yeah, this is ok.” I was kind of tripping out like, “hey I get to see this fighter and this one.” Yeah, I was pretty happy for sure. That's the beautiful thing about a tournament. I didn't know and you can't ever know for sure who's gonna do what. That's part of what I really enjoyed – just keeping an open mind and not guessing.
MMANews.com: Now I know [Joe] Lauzon was on there. Was there any awkward moments or feelings with him?
Jens Pulver: Nah. What could be awkward? I let that go when it happened. My hat goes off to him. He got me. He did what he did. What am I gonna do – cry? No. I still got knowledge and I still got things to teach these people. I was just happy he was out there and making the most of his career, because the reality is yeah, he beat me. You better do something with yourself, don't make me look that stupid! [laughing] You know? Better get out there and do something. So I'm happy he was on the show to give it a shot, for sure. Now he can get his name out there even more.
MMANews.com: Was there anybody that surprised you. Like maybe you didn't know of them or they just came out of nowhere during the tournament. Kind of like Rashad Evans did from season two. He came out and won the thing and no one really knew anything about him.
Jens Pulver: I had my surprises, absolutely. I'm not gonna say who, but I definitely had some surprises.
MMANews.com: Ok, now Corey Hill he's like 6 …what is he, 6'4''?
Jens Pulver: Something like that.
MMANews.com: Is that the biggest Lightweight you've ever seen?
Jens Pulver: That's the biggest Lightweight. That's one of the biggest people I've ever seen period [laughs]. Height-wise, yeah he's massive.
MMANews.com: What were your initial thoughts on him?
Jens Pulver: Holy dear god look at this guy! If he's 155 pounds, I'm going to 145! That's what I thought the first time I seen him – I'm going to 145.
MMANews.com: [laughing] You think he'll be able to make 155 pounds consistently as he gets older?
Jens Pulver: Well he made it as far as I know. He didn't …he was able to, you know, he was able to compete on the show so he must've made it this far, you know? He must of been alright making the weight to get there.
MMANews.com: I just can't see someone that big being able to continuously make 155…
Jens Pulver: …I don't know what it was like though. I'm sure it was tough for him having to cut weight and stuff, but who knows. It's tough. It's gotta be tough. That's a big …that's a long ways for the punch to be coming down. That's a lot of body and that's a lot of height, good god. So I don't know. Hopefully it wasn't too hard for him.
Catch Jens Pulver as coach of The Ultimate Fighter 5 on Spike TV starting April 5th…
MMANews.com: Alright Jens, before we let you go – if you could say something to B.J. Penn what would it be right now?
Jens Pulver: Thank you. I'd tell him thank you.
MMANews.com: [laughs] Can I ask why?
Jens Pulver: No doubt, I'll tell ya. Thank you for pissing me off and getting me mad and waking me up and making me back into that underdog position. Thank you for opening your mouth because now I want to train and I want to fight again. Thank you for bringing me back what I thought was gone for three and a half years. I'll tell him right to his face – thank you. Because of you, I want to fight again. Because of you, I'm gonna knock your ass out. So, thank you.
MMANews.com: So he re-lit your fire?
Jens Pulver: Exactly. He's the reason why I lost thirty pounds. He's the reason why I'm thirteen percent body-fat lower. He's the reason why I train everyday. He's the reason why I box. He's the reason why I run. He's the reason why I'm gonna knock him out and he's the reason why I wanna be a fighter. I owe B.J. Penn the greatest thanks of all. If he wouldn't of opened his mouth, I'd probably still be that half-way kid who just goes out there and just tries to throw punches.
MMANews.com: [laughing] Alright Jens, before we let you go is there anything you wanna add? Any sponsors you want to mention or anything you want to say to your fans?
Jens Pulver: Same thing I've always said to all of my fans. I appreciate every single one of you and if you see me, don't ever not come up and say hello because it makes me feel bad. And other than that, relax, sit-back and enjoy the shows this season. Don't try to find out too early what's been happening because you won't want to spoil it. It's an amazing season.
MMANews.com: The best season?
Jens Pulver: Easily. It's the best season ever. I ain't making that up either. I can tell you right now, straight out of my mouth. This shit ain't scripted, it ain't made up. This is the best season in the history of the show.
MMANews.com: Alright, there you have it. Definitely want to thank you for taking the time for us.
Jens Pulver: No problem, Luis.
MMANews.com: It's always a pleasure. I wish you luck in the future and in the B.J. Penn fight. We'll be in touch.
Jens Pulver: Alright I'll talk to you soon.
MMANews.com: Alright, take care.
Jens Pulver: Thank you.
For more information on Jens Pulver or The Ultimate Fighter season five, visit TheUltimateFighter.tv.