This past Fourth of July weekend (July 6, 2014) saw not one, but two mixed martial arts (MMA) veterans and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champions call it a career.
While it may not be garnering the same buzz as B.J. Penn's retirement after he was finished by Frankie Edgar in the third round of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 19 Finale main event (video), Jens Pulver announced his official retirement from the sport, as well.
MMA Heat got the news straight from the horse's mouth:
"Well, I did 135 for a bit. I hear everyone saying 'time to retire', this and that. I just refused to announce it or say it, but I think I've said it like three times already today. I'm done. I mean, I'm done. I think most people are like 'I thought you were done like 5 years ago?' But the reality is I am. I've got two guys that I've started coaching. My two-time national champion... he's unreal. I'm having a blast doing it. I'm back in Iowa, and I'm training with the old Miletich camp and I'm going to start being a coach there. That aspect of course, I love. I want to commentate. I got to do Cage Warriors... And I get to do that again in Ireland in August. So I love commentating. You know me, I love to talk. It's the best seat in the house, and you get to have opinions, I love it! So I would like to continue doing that, but above all, I want to raise my kids. Be around with my kids, and be a better dad than my dad was, you know how that is, so that's what I am doing."
While many may have thought "Lil' Evil" had called it quits a few years back, Pulver had been competing on the regional circuit (and overseas) for a while, with his last fight taking place back in November under the Superior Challenge banner; losing to Sami Aziz via unanimous decision.
Prior to that, Jens took his talents overseas to ONE FC, losing a featherweight fight against Erik Kelly, and then going 1-1 in the promotion's Bantamweight Grand Prix.
Ironically enough, Pulver was the first man to ever defeat B.J. Penn, winning a majority decision at UFC 35 back in 2002 to claim the lightweight title. Five years later, Penn got his much-desired revenge on Pulver by choking him out at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale in 2007, Pulver's final fight under the UFC banner.
After submitting Cub Swanson in his next fight at WEC 31, Pulver went on to lose six straight, before ending his run in MMA with an even 5-5 mark in his final 10 bouts.
As one of the original members of the famed Miletich camp, Pulver looks to continue as a coach at his old stomping grounds, whose founder, Pat Miletich, was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame this past weekend.