For fans of Jens "Lil Evil" Pulver, it should come as no surprise that the former UFC lightweight champ has chosen to blaze his own path when it comes to anything related to the sport of mixed martial arts.
Pulver's latest endeavor is his participation in the 505 Games/Kung Fu Factory video game Supremacy MMA. The game is a departure from previous fighting games put out by the UFC and EA Sports. The game caters to fans of the arcade style of gaming and can be likened to Tekken or Mortal Kombat in many ways.
One of the game’s features is a story mode that follows each of the fighter’s careers. The story of Pulver starts with his rough childhood. The animated version of Pulver is seen with a gun in his mouth with his father proclaiming, “You’re not even worth the bullets.”
Pulver’s life and career have seen their ups and downs, as portrayed in the game. The UFC, Pride, and WEC veteran has made a number of changes following a tough stretch. While demoing the new game, Pulver sat down to talk with Bleacher Report. "Yes, I lost a lot,” Pulver explained. “But there was life after the WEC."
The rejuvenation of his career is in large part due to a new camp and a drop to the bantamweight division. The veteran fighter is 3-1 over his last four fights, including a recent TKO win over Coty Wheeler in August.
In the fight, Pulver delivered a number of strikes that hurt Wheeler before the referee intervened. "At first, it shocked me. I hadn't dropped anybody in a while," proclaimed the 135-pound fighter with a laugh.
After Wheeler hit the canvas, Pulver begged the referee to step in, but had to deliver more punishment to his opponent. Looking back, Pulver regretted his actions, "I shouldn't have been trying to win a merit badge."
The recent success has been, in large part, due to a new approach. "The hardest part of training, which no one ever asks me about, is the mental side,” said Pulver. “This was the first time in my career where I truly grasped that concept."
Fighting out of Chicago and training with Team Curran, Pulver is easily making the weight cut to the bantamweight division. "I walk around at 144 because I’m on a juice diet,” the former champion described. "I’m living that gym life, which I've never done before. It's lonely, but I need it."
Pulver hopes to fight again in late November or early December. The fighter knows that his time in the sport is limited, but he’s accepted that. "More than just being competitive, I want to quit the right way. I'm living the life of a fighter and I’m going to walk out a better person," declared Pulver.
Training with Curran has led Pulver to evolve his ground game, something he can relate back to the video game. While Pulver’s character has a boxing pedigree, he knows that in real life he needs more than his boxing to succeed. Each fighter has a base in the game, whether it’s wrestling, judo, Muay Thai, boxing or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Another feature of the game is the ability to play as Muay Thai superstar Malaipet or K-1 veteran Jerome Le Banner, as well as a number of other characters. In Pulver’s words, "It's like an arcade game."
Departing from the simulation style of the other games on the market, Supremacy features finishing moves. Something that Pulver thinks adds to the fun of playing the game. “Some people think that gives the sport a bad name, but you don't give the sport a bad name this far down the road. I was there when it had a bad name, this ain't it," stated the fighter.
More than anything, Supremacy MMA is an opportunity for fans to sit down and have some fun; a perfect scenario for someone like Pulver. Watching the legend of the sport play the game, you know he’s having as much fun playing it as he does when he’s inside the cage.
Rob Tatum is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. You can also find Rob’s work at TheMMACorner.com. For anything related to MMA, you can follow Rob on Twitter @RobTatumMMA.