Boxing has fighters such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales and Manny Pacquiao carrying the torch for the lighter weight classes.
Jens “Little Evil” Pulver was one of the pioneers of the lighter weight classes for the UFC.
Pulver, who has an overall MMA record of 21-6-1, was 6-0-1 in UFC matches and became the first UFC lightweight champion. After four years away from the octagon, Pulver is returning to the organization that made him an MMA star. UFC president Dana White announced the signing of Pulver to a promotional contract on Wednesday.
“ He was our first 155-pound champion,” White said. “He beat B.J. Penn (in 2002 at UFC 35), then he took off. He’s been fighting everywhere else. He’s back. He’ll probably be a coach on our next TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) show. Then he’ll be right in the mix to fight for the title.”
Pulver, 30, who has been fighting abroad in PRIDE and other organizations the past four years, said he is ecstatic to be back in the UFC.
“ For me it’s gigantic,” he said. “It’s almost like a dream come true. What it is, more than anything, I really had an empty spot in my soul. I really felt something was missing and incomplete in my career.
“ I just didn’t have the being gung-ho and training ... to the wall. I seen my teammates and everybody really start hitting in the UFC. The UFC started blowing up and I started missing being at home. I’m just so excited. When the offer came, yes. That’s exactly what I want to do. I want to finish what I started.”
Pulver said he is eager to get back into the octagon.
“ The biggest thing is I’m taking aim at anyone that thinks they are putting that gold around their waist,” he said. “That’s the bottom line for me right now. I’m going after anyone that thinks they are going to get it. My manager Joe Silva and Dana White get together and tell me who I’m fighting. I don’t make that decision. I fight who they tell me to fight, when they tell me to fight and I go after him 100 percent.”
Pulver said Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Spencer Fisher are among the top 155-pounders that could make for some exciting fights and shine the spotlight on the UFC’s lightweight division.
“ There really isn’t a name,” he said. “I just want to get back in there and start introducing people to me.
“ I’ve always been an advocate for the little guys. I love the excitement. I think the best fights have been at lightweight. I’ve always considered myself almost the ‘Godfather of the Lightweights.’ I started the division. I had the only title in the division, especially, in the United States. That’s my job. That’s my role. I’m just excited to see the little guys get a shot.”