One of the pioneers among the lower-weight fighters is finally getting his due on a bigger stage. UFC officials announced Saturday that Jens Pulver will be inducted into the Pioneer wing of the Hall of Fame Class of 2023.
Pulver got emotional after learning the news while doing a watch-along live broadcast of UFC 284 via the company’s official Twitch channel.
The induction ceremony will take place in July as part of the 11th annual UFC International Fight Week in Las Vegas.
Pulver’s induction makes him the 18th member of the Pioneer wing which includes “athletes who turned professional before November 17, 2000.” That was the date when the unified rules of MMA were adopted. They must also be a minimum age of 35 and must be retired for one year or longer.
Pulver, 48, was the promotion’s inaugural lightweight champion by defeating Caol Uno by unanimous decision at UFC 30 in 2001. It also marked the youngest fighter to win the title.
The champion would defend the title twice before departing the promotion after UFC 35.
He would make his return at UFC 63 in 2006 after four years in PRIDE and in regional promotions. His return would help revive the 155-pound division. After losing to Joe Lauzon, he would later become a coach in the fifth season of The Ultimate Fight opposite Penn.
After losing to Penn in their rematch, Pulver would depart for the WEC, where he racked up a 1-5 record. Among those losses is a loss in a featherweight title match against champion Urijah Faber at WEC 34. That match earned Fight of the Night honors.
After his time in WEC, Pulver spent several years bouncing around several regional organizations as well as ONE.
His final fight was a loss in November 2013, ending his career with a 27-19-1 record.
Pulver is an alumnus of Pat Miletich’s fame Miletich Fighting Systems Academy.
Currently, he hosts three weekly broadcasts relating to the UFC and MMA on his Twitch channel. In addition, he co-hosts watch-along broadcasts of all UFC events as part of his role as a full-time host of the UFC channel.