First ever UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver, inducted into UFC Hall of Fame

Pulver’s UFC career began in September 1999 at UFC 22, where he competed to a draw with Alfonso Alcarez. He had previously competed twice in the Bas Rutten invitational. Pulver went on to compete outside the UFC while also returning to the organization, ultimately earning a shot at the UFC’s inaugural 155lb title against Caol Uno in 2001.

He would go on to win and defend his belt twice, against Dennis Hallman and B.J. Penn. Notably, the Penn bout marked the first time that 155lb competitors headlined a UFC card.

Despite a successful run in the UFC, a pay dispute led to Pulver’s departure from the organization without ever losing his title. He continued to compete on the regional circuit and in PRIDE, as well as trying his hand at a boxing career.

Pulver returned to MMA, ultimately appearing as a coach on TUF 5 opposite B.J. Penn. The two would compete in a rematch at the end of the season, with Penn coming out on top.

While Pulver would later compete for the WEC and continue competing until 2013, his most significant contributions were undoubtedly in the UFC. As the first lightweight champion in UFC history, Pulver helped launch the division and delivered some of the sport’s most memorable moments.

UFC President Dana White praised Pulver, stating:

“Jens Pulver is a pioneer of the sport who could do it all in the Octagon, and it will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.”

White specifically cited Pulver’s knockout of John Lewis and his win over BJ Penn as memorable moments in Pulver’s UFC career.

Pulver’s legacy is one that has had a profound impact on the sport of MMA. As the UFC continues to grow and evolve, it is essential to recognize the contributions of those who paved the way. Pulver’s induction into the Hall of Fame is a well-deserved honor that will help ensure his legacy endures.