MMAWeekly Radio and Jeff Cain
Jens “Little Evil” Pulver has the opportunity to make Mixed Martial Arts history, but it seems like no one is talking about it. He has the chance to become the only fighter in MMA history to have won a UFC title, and a Pride title when he competes on September 25th in Pride’s Bushido lightweight tournament. MMAWeekly recently spoke with Jens Pulver about the tournament, his quest to make history, and Jens gave his opinion on the way the tournament could play out.
“I don’t want people to forget the little man. The pressures I’ve got going for me is, you know they always talk about the Wanderlei and Chuck Liddell match up, and Fedor and the heavyweight match up. Who can win both belts? Me man. Last time I checked I’ve got four UFC titles in my room, and I’m going for the Pride belt right now, but no body wants to hype that. No body wants to talk about that because I weigh 155 pounds. I’m going to do it first. I’m the only one in this tournament with that opportunity right now. Fans of the sport, and they don’t even know what’s going on. I’ve got extra pressure you know?…I’ll walk away from this tournament retired. If I win this thing I’m done, that’s it, retired. I’m done. You can’t get no better than that man. Win the UFC championship, never lost it. Win a Pride title, no ones ever done it. Walk away, hey that’s it. It just sucks because it gets downplayed. If it were Wanderlei and Chuck fighting, the whole world would be going nuts.” Jens Pulver told MMAWeekly.
Pulver has put on weight, worked on his power, and upped his endurance in preparation for this tournament. Jens said, “I feel extremely strong now.” He’s increased his size and frame, and thinks it will have a big impact when he steps into the ring on September 25th to try and do what no one else has ever done.
His first round match up will be against Hayato “Mach” Sakurai. Discussing the match, and what will be effective against Sakurai, Jens commented, “Definitely out boxing him. Not even really out boxing him. Don’t get in to the full on three or four punch exchanges, but counter punching him with one hard shot, two hard shots at a time, watching his kicks because if you watched him fight Vieira, he comes in, boom, two shots, and he’s coming in for the take down. I think number one I have to establish to him that I can out wrestle him, so if he comes at me with that wrestling first, I’m going to stop his shot. Then I’m going to take him down, and then I’m going to let him know that I’m the wrestler. I worry about his leg kicks. The fact that his heart is the size of Secretariat, and he can go all day long. Those are the two things that have me saying what am I going to do with this guy?” He added, “This ain’t going to a decision, and I be damned if I’m going to be in a boring fight.”
Jens continued, “It’s just a matter of if I can stop his shot, which I fully intend to. I’m going to do what I do. I’m going to hit him hard. I’m going to hit him real hard. I’m going to out wrestle him. If he wants to wrestle with me, shit I’ll stop throwing punches and kicks right now, and I’ll out wrestle him. If that’s what he wants to do. I’m just going in there, again, it’s a fight. All of these guys are great, and I’m just going to go in there and fight.”
If Pulver gets past Sakurai, he will have to face the winner of Yves Edwards and Joachim Hansen later that night. Jens gave his prediction for the Edwards and Hansen bout, saying, “I have Yves beating Hansen, more than anything, with is strikes. I know Hansen likes to throw knees, but I think Yves’ are better. I can see Yves landing something kick wise in the head, and it’s just a matter of if Yves lets them go, and not worry about Hansen trying to take him down in the beginning. I think that’s the biggest thing. If Yves doesn’t freeze his hands and legs up then he’ll be fine.”
The other side of the brackets has Takanori Gomi against Tatsuya Kawajiri, and Naoyuki Kotani vs Luis Azeredo in the first round. Breaking down the Gomi and Kawajiri match up, Jens said, “I’m going to go with Kawajiri with his wrestling style, and ground and pound. I don’t see him trying to mess too much with Gomi toe to toe. Gomi fighting from his back, you’ve got to remember what BJ did to him. He didn’t like that much. I think Kawajiri’s a big force, you know, really hard to move. I’m going with Kawajiri on that one.”
Pulver’s take on the Kotani Azeredo bout was, “Azeredo. He’s crazy period. That’s all I can say. He’s crazy. He’s going to catch you with something. That’s the one guy that I wouldn’t want to fight in this thing. He’ll just catch you with something. He caught Gomi with a few different crazy double flip kicks or whatever.”
Jens didn’t really pick a winner between himself and Yves Edwards if they have to fight. He commented, “The hardest part about it is who I could possibly have second. I don’t even get to think that far because the fight I have first. That’s rough. That’s a rough thing to do.” Further stating about a possible match with Edwards, Jens said, “Whatever happens in that fight, I wish the best for him, and for myself. I know we both want it. I know we both want to get there, so we’ll just get in the ring. No picks on that one…As long as we can make it exciting. Again unfortunately you have to see it in Japan, but hopefully at least you get to see it.?
Pulver picked Kawajiri to defeat Azeredo by ground and pound. That puts Jens and Kawajiri in the finals if everything works out as Pulver plans. If he and Kawajiri do face each other in the finals, Jens said, “He ain’t going to take me down. I like my chances of knocking out Kawajiri better than any body else in that tournament. Just watching him fight that Korean, yeah. His take downs is good. I don’t really sweat them, but he puts so much power into his right hand, and puts so much into his punches. When he throws the one-two, he’s wide open. His hands, they come down to his stomach, and come back up to his face. I would just love to capitalize on that, and crack him with counter shots. Two and three hooks. I mean personally. I’m not saying it could happen, but that’s what I’d be going after is definitely a knockout with him. His hands drop. You know? A couple of minutes of wrestling and his hands drop…I can see Yves the same thing, trying to break that clinch, and when he’s backing up kicking him right smack in the head because he drops his hands every-time.”
On September 25th, Jens Pulver’s quest at MMA history will play out. He has to get past two tough opponents to secure a birth in the finals, and secure his chance to become the only fighter in MMA history to win a UFC and Pride title in their career.