MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with former UFC Lightweight champion, Ultimate Fighter reality show coach and the newest addition to the 145 lb. WEC weight-class – “Little Evil” Jens Pulver to discuss his upcoming fight with Cub Swanson at WEC 31, among a number of other topics. Below is a complete transcript of the interview which was conducted on Wednesday, December 5, 2007.
JENS PULVER INTERVIEW (DEC. 5, 2007)
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: This is Chris Howie with MMANews.com and today I am speaking with the former UFC lightweight champ and the newest addition to the WEC’s 145lbs division, Jen Pulver. What’s up today Jens?
Jens Pulver: Nothing much. Trying to get my weight down, trying to train, trying to get in shape, and trying to keep from going 0-3. You know, the usual.
MMANews.com: How has training been going for you for this fight?
Jens Pulver: Training has been phenomenal. I have no complaints at all.
MMANews.com: Who has been helping you train?
Jens Pulver: Brandon Adams has stepped up a ton and has been holding all my pads for me and that has been a lot of fun. Then, of course, everyone in the gym like Spencer [Fisher] and Josh Neer and all of those guys. I’ve been training at Alleycat boxing club three times a week. My nutritionist has been taking really good care of me and helping me with my diet. Dave Malley, my chiropractor has been helping me with my stretching and then Kevin Yount and Tim Sylvia do a lot of the swimming and the biking with me. Everyone has really stepped up and been helping me out and I have to give a big thanks to all of them.
MMANews.com: How is the knee feeling now?
Jens Pulver: It feels great but it has its' moments. I’ll find myself in situations grappling and I’m like “aww Jesus” and my little bells go off and I have to tell myself not to push. Striking wise, standing wise, and movement wise it’s good. It still hurts a little bit but it was a torn ligament and luckily it was a torn meniscus and I didn’t need surgery. More than anything it just has moments where it gets stiff and when that happens I just have to give it time. All this stretching I’ve been doing at Dr. Malley’s has really been helping me and right now I feel 100 percent.
MMANews.com: Are you looking forward to getting in there with Cub Swanson?
Jens Pulver: Very much so. I’m absolutely looking forward to fighting Cub. Cub says he found my weakness and he only needs to train a little bit a day so I’m looking forward to finding out what he thinks my weakness is. I’m really excited to see how he comes at me. I hope he comes in straight on like he has fought everybody else, unchecked and untested. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to fight and I can’t wait to see what happens.
MMANews.com: Are you feeling more comfortable at 145lbs than 155lbs?
Jens Pulver: Big time. I noly had to cut anything to get to 155lbs. I just had to diet and do my training and I’d be fine. Right now I’m trying to figure the diet out so it’s where I want it as far as sodium intakes and what-not but I’m comfortable and I’m having fun. I’m not going to have to cut any as in putting the plastics on and wear myself out that much. I’m 151-152lbs right now and I haven’t had to put the plastics on so I may not even have to put the plastics on. Maybe for the last 3-4lbs of water weight but I don’t see it being that much of a problem. I might have to get in the sauna. I’ve wrestled all my life at 135lbs and 141lbs, so 145lbs is my weight and I’m ready.
MMANews.com: What do you normally walk around at?
Jens Pulver: It depends. There is the disgusting fat Jens and he can get up to around 170lbs and he is just one big walk of Pepsi. When I’m having fun and staying active I’m usually around 162lbs.
MMANews.com: The 170lbs Jens would be the TUF coach Jens?
Jens Pulver: Oh yeah. That would be Coach of TUF 5 – fat Jens.
MMANews.com: Speaking of the Ultimate Fighter 5, looking back on it what are your thoughts?
Jens Pulver: I loved it. It was a lot of fun and a lot of real moments happened in that thing. I wish the fight would of been different between me and BJ [Penn] but what can I say? I got my ass kicked. I’m not going to cry or make excuses and I’m definitely not going to let it deter me from fighting. I got my ass handed to me, period. The show itself was an absolute blessing. The fans got to see me and I get to hear from them all the time. I think it helped me and it helped my career being on the show. It was great seeing all those hungry 155 guys and I made a lot of great friends on that show. It was a lot of fun and I don’t think it would take much coaxing to get me back again.
MMANews.com: Is there any animosity left between you and BJ?
Jens Pulver: You know, there was a time there for a while where I thought that, maybe we are just supposed to be rivals and maybe we are just supposed to hate each other, but for the first time since the fight we got to hang out at the last UFC. It’s what I needed because it was really cool just to sit back and talk to him for a minute. We never had that opportunity and it was cool because he came up to me and said, “You still looking to come out and train?” and I was like “Absolutely.” I was just thinking we were supposed to hate each other because I hadn’t heard from him and he hadn’t heard from me and I was just thinking “To hell with ya, we’re just supposed to be rivals.” It was cool to just sit down and talk to him for a minute; we smiled and took a deep breath and I wished him well on his fight coming up and he said he would train with me if I still wanted to come out. I told him I still want to do it and it was cool to know the option was still out there and that after this fight he can expect me to come out there. I want to learn from him. The animosity is gone — well maybe there is a white flag up and I hope nobody does anything that could mess it up because I think it could be one word away from us going back at it [laughs]. It’s cool where it’s at now. We both have other things to worry about. I’m looking to do big things at 145lbs and he is chasing after that 155lbs title that has eluded him. I guess we just have other things. We’re 1-1 now and he got what he needed beating me and I had what I always needed beating him when I was the champ.
MMANews.com: And I guess it wouldn’t hurt going to Hawaii over the winter…
Jens Pulver: Nawwwww, not at all [laughs]. I could definitely use some time in Hawaii.
MMANews.com: How are you feeling about the 145lbs division in the WEC?
Jens Pulver: Urijah Faber has done a great job building it. We are going to be the front runners in the WEC. The UFC has the heavyweights and light heavyweights and the 85’s, and that’s all good, you know, but the 145lbs division isn’t the minors leagues. We just have no place to go and the WEC gives us a place to go so 45 and 35 will be the front runners and we will have a home. It’s a lot of fun to be part of the division and help it grow. A lot of the Ultimate Fighter fans and the UFC fans are like “Who’s Cub Swanson?” But there are a lot of big 45’s that people are going to find out about. Now that there is a place for 45’s to go you could see a lot of 55’s drop down in weight because even financially it’s not a big cut to drop to 145 anymore. For all of that I’m thankful to the WEC. That’s a lot to offer and it’s pretty cool to be the front-running weight class.
Jens Pulver battles Cub Swanson at WEC 31 on VERSUS …
MMANews.com: Do you think the UFC would possibly bring the 145lbs division onto that card?
Jens Pulver: Being Zuffa owned it’s hard to say. I think they may keep it this way because this is the big thing they have going in the WEC. I don’t know if there are certain match-ups they will like to have or what will go on but it will be cool one way or another. “Kid” Yamamoto is running around out there, so who knows? They have a big stage to showcase the 145lbs division on so we’ll see.
MMANews.com: I see similarities in what PRIDE had going with the two separate shows in the PRIDE shows with the bigger weight classes and the Bushido shows showcasing the smaller ones.
Jens Pulver: Yeah, that’s kind of what this is. Joe Silva has a big voice in the WEC and he has always been an advocate of the little guys. There has to be a place for the 145lbs and 135lbs divisions, hell, bring in 122lbs, I’ve seen it in Japan. There has to be a place for the little guys. They can’t all be 170lbs. Look at boxing, it’s the 145er’s that are saving them right now. When you have outstanding heavyweights like Fedor [Emelianenko] or [Randy] Couture people are going to want to watch them when they fight. All around you want to see something nuts and that’s what you get out of the little guys. They move quickly and they knock people out.
MMANews.com: The little guys have been getting their props over the last year to a year and a half it seems …
Jens Pulver: … I would give credit for that to the reality show for 155’s and in the 145lbs division it all has to go to Uirjah. Everyone knows that little son of a gun's name and he is doing a great job down there building that weight class and I’m down there to help him. I talked to Dana [White] and asked “Is it cool if I go down to 145lbs? I’m tired of being a little 155er.” And he was like “Absolutely!” They weren’t kicking me out of the UFC or anything. I’m excited man.
MMANews.com: Was it hard for you fighting against 155er’s that were cutting large amounts of weight to get down to that weight class?
Jens Pulver: No, it’s not a big problem and if I had to do it I would but I don’t have to do that now because there is a place I can go. The UFC could give me a fight at 145 to keep me active but there is no point in that because there is a place that is a good organization that has 145lbs. I could probably fight at 170lbs – but why?
MMANews.com: With a win over Cub Swanson do you think a title shot could be next?
Jens Pulver: Oh you can bet your ass. What needs to happen is December 12th me and Faber need to get out there and do what needs to be done to set up a super-fight that everyone will want to see. Unfortunately this sport isn’t scripted and this ain’t make-believe so all we can do is go out there and throwdown and get done what needs to be done. I don’t want Jeff Curran to beat Faber. I want to beat Faber. I need to beat Cub first but then I want Faber. That fight could be WEC’s first PPV. It’s up to us on December 12th. There is a lot of pressure going into that night because there are a lot of things that can happen in the future that I don’t want to throw away and that I want to be involved in and a loss would throw me way back and I don’t want to be starting over.
MMANews.com: How important is it to get back on track after two losses?
Jens Pulver: Very important. Because if I don’t I’m really going to start doubting myself. I got caught by Joe [Lauzon] and I just got plain beat up by BJ – period. I owe the fans that believe in me and that have supported me a win. I’m very appreciative of my fans and do whatever I can for them but the one thing that I’d like to give them the most is a win. It’s been a long time. I’ve only fought two times in the last year and a half — and that’s another thing about the WEC, I don’t want to be sitting around waiting for fights. Now I can be fighting every three months. No one wants to wait 12 months to fight. It sucks.
MMANews.com: Are there any other fighters that are on your radar right now?
Jens Pulver: Well, I can't wait to see them and put them on the radar. Just get out here and lets play. Frankie Edgar is doing great right now, Faber, they are all right there. I just want to see this 145lbs division blow up, I want to see [Joachim] “Hellboy” Hansen get his ass down here and I know who your're talking about and he's on my radar. I don't know how we would do that one but yeah, Yamamoto, absolutely he is absolutely right there on my radar. People have been talking about that fight for three years between him and I. He was going for the Olympics but he banged his elbow up and is back doing MMA and that is bad for him but good for me. I'm glad he is back in MMA, he'll tear some shit up. If fans don't know who he is in America – they need to know about this guy.
MMANews.com: What do you think it would take to bring “Kid” Yamamoto over here?
Jens Pulver: Well I think it would take a cross-promotion and if that couldn't happen then I think it would take the UFC bringing him over here and putting him on PPV and showcase the 145lbs class. When I win the belt at 145lbs I'll fight Kid or let Urijah fight him and put it on the UFC. It's not like it would be straying outside the family.
MMANews.com: What do you like to do on your free time?
Jens Pulver: Well for that I'd have to thank one of my newest sponsors if I may?
MMANews.com: Of course…
Jens Pulver: I have to thank Activision and Call of Duty 4. They are my newest sponsors and I have to thank them a ton. I play a lot of games online and they wanted to get in on MMA a bit and we hooked up. That is what I like to do on my free time, online gaming.
MMANews.com: Sounds awesome man. Any other sponsors or anyone you would like to thank before we get out of here?
Jens Pulver: I just have to thank Suckerpunch Entertainment and Brian Butler. He has been phenomenal helping me. I want to thank the team at MFS and of course my manager Monte Cox. Big props to my girl, Fairtax for the gear and the clothes and Dixon Ford. The list could go on and on but I have to give a huge thanks to Call of Duty 4 because I love MMA and I love gaming.
MMANews.com: Ok, any prediction for the fight with Swanson?
Jens Pulver: Don't miss it. Someone is going down and I know it ain't me this time. Somebody is going down and I know who it is.
MMANews.com: Ok Jens, good luck in your next fight and thanks for taking the time to speak with me today.
Jens Pulver: No problem Chris, any time.
Don't forget to catch Jens Pulver make his WEC debut on December 12th live on the VERSUS television network as he battles Cub Swanson in a 145 lb. super-fight on a stacked card which features three title fights, including 145 lb. champ and company poster-boy Urijah Faber defending his gold against top-challenger Jeff Curran. For more information on the WEC, click here.
For more exclusive MMANews.com fighter interviews, check out the interview archive section by CLICKING HERE.