As you may or may not have heard by now, the first ever UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver, has officially announced his retirement from MMA. He will forever be remembered for being the first lightweight champion in UFC, defeating Caol Uno in 2001, and putting the weight class on the map. He went on to successfully defend the title against Dennis Hallman (best known for having two wins over Matt Hughes), and BJ Penn, before leaving the organization over a contract dispute.
Pulver returned to UFC in 2006, and in his debut, lost quickly to Joe Lauzon. Pulver then signed on to become one of the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter season 5, along with the rival coach, Penn. At the finale, Penn got his redemption, defeating Pulver via second round rear-naked choke, sending Pulver back out of the UFC.
Pulver moved down a weight class, to 145, and reappeared in WEC, winning his debut fight in 35 seconds against Cub Swanson. Pulver then had a series of classic barn-burner fights for the featherweight title against champion, Urijah Faber, barely coming up short. After that, he went on a 6 fight losing streak before being cut from WEC. He went on to fight in numerous organizations, including OneFC, Titan Fighting Championships,and Resurrection Fight Alliance.
He leaves us with a professional MMA record of 27-19-1. No one can deny that Pulver and Penn were the two fighters that put the UFC lightweight division on the map. With an opponent resume like Penn (twice), Faber (twice), Swanson and Takanori Gomi, who could argue?
Pulver, also a Miletich camp product, should follow Miletich into the UFC Hall of Fame.