Jens Pulver lost all hope of ever being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
For years, Pulver’s friends, family and peers have campaigned for his spot in the UFC Hall of Fame but to no avail. That is, until it finally came to fruition when it was announced Saturday during the UFC 284 broadcast that he will be inducted as part of the Class of 2023.
An emotional Pulver was brought to tears when he was surprised with the news while hosting a UFC watch-along of the event on Twitch. The 48-year-old says he’d reached a point where he was convinced that it would never happen.
“I was already past that, and it’s not a joke,” Pulver told MMA Junkie Radio. “I knew I wasn’t getting in. I was done. That whole, ‘Where Are They Now?’ I’m like, ‘You know, I’ll do it.’ I’ll let people know where I’m at. It’ll help build the UFC Twitch stream. I’ll do it. I was already done with this. …
“I’m just excited. I never ever, ever expected this. I’ve got no words.”
Pulver (27-19-1) will join former featherweight champion Jose Aldo among UFC Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. Like Aldo, Pulver is widely considered a pioneer of the promotion’s lower-weight divisions. “Lil Evil” became the inaugural UFC lightweight (then called bantamweight) champion after he defeated Caol Uno by unanimous decision at on Feb. 23, 2001 at UFC 30.
“I’m going in at the same time as Jose Aldo? Yeah, that’s pretty cool too,” Pulver said.
Throughout his UFC tenure, which stretched from 1999 to 2007, Pulver amassed a 6-2-1 record. This included a win over legend B.J. Penn, whom he fought twice and coached against on Season 5 of “The Ultimate Fighter 5” in 2007.
Pulver also went 2-2 competing in Pride. After the UFC, Pulver competed as a featherweight for Zuffa-owned WEC where he defeated Cub Swanson but lost twice to UFC Hall of Famer Uriah Faber, including once for the title at WEC 34 in 2008.