Written By Cameron Gidari
When Jens Pulver fights, people take notice. “Lil’ Evil” is a pioneer for the little guy in mixed martial arts and as such, Pulver always expects his opponents to bring a little extra when they face him.
“I may not have the belt around my waist, [but] people come after me every time because it’s a catapult, or at one time it was a catapult,” Pulver told the Ground & Pound Radio Show.
The one time that Pulver referred to seems to fading faster and faster. Pulver will face Josh Grispi at WEC: Faber vs. Brown II next Sunday, and both fighters are going in opposite directions.
While Pulver has dropped five of his last six fights, albeit to top level opponents, Grispi is riding an eight-fight win streak, finishing seven of those fights in the first round.
“He’s disgustingly tough,” Pulver said. “[He is] one of the best up-and-comers at 145, lanky, strong, very aggressive, loves to kick.”
Pulver knows the significance of this fight, and he is going into it with a chip on his shoulder.
“I want to show people that I’m not tired, I’m not done,” Pulver said. “I just need to find that aggression inside myself. That’s been the biggest battle [in my last few fights]; I beat me, not the people in front of me.”
Grispi is known to be an extremely aggressive fighter, and Pulver expects his much taller opponent to utilize his reach and look for a knockout.
“He’s going to be like everyone else, looking to knock me out right off the bat,” Pulver said. “Let’s go ahead and exposes Jens’ self esteem, let’s crush that right off the bat and take the heart out of him and then we’ll put the beating on him.”
Never one to back down from a fight, Pulver is coming into the match injury-free and feeling good. However, he does hear people whispering about retirement. At this point in his career, Pulver just wants to put on exciting fights, especially with the way the sport has shifted financially.
“Financially it’s a better time to be the best in the world than when I was the best in the world,” Pulver said.
When Pulver does retire, he could have a career in the broadcast booth waiting for him. He recently did color commentary for a WEC event, and is careful to break the down a fight in a way that casual fans will understand.
“I don’t try to get all technical,” Pulver said. “I look at it like the casual average person. I deliberately talk [in simple terms] because I’m just like everybody else. I’m just a fan watching the sport.”
Pulver doesn’t know when retirement is coming, but he knows that it will be hard to accept it when it does.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow to be like, ‘dang, am I done?’” Pulver said. “This is the life I chose, this is what I’m happy doing.”
In another week and a half, hopefully Pulver can stave off that pill a little longer.
Ground & Pound Radio broadcasts live every Tuesday at 9:30 pm EST (6:30 pm PST). The show is hosted by MMAMadness.com’s Hector Castro and Fight! Magazine’s Johnny Dunn. For more information, or to download previous episodes, go to here.
Cameron Gidari is the Associate Editor at MMAMadness.com. He can be reached with questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.