The UFC's inaugural lightweight champion is officially Hall of Fame bound. During the UFC 284 pay-per-view broadcast, it was announced that Jens Pulver would be a part of the UFC 2023 Hall of Fame class.
Pulver started his mixed martial arts career in 1999, fighting twice in tournaments early in the year and picking up a win over future lightweight title challenger Joe Stevenson. By that September, Pulver made his UFC debut, battling Alfonso Alcarez to a draw at UFC 22.
Pulver would continue to compete in and outside of the Octagon at an incredible rate. In his seventh fight of 2000, Pulver scored an all-time highlight reel knockout of John Lewis at UFC 28, a win that set him up to battle Japanese star Caol Uno to crown the first-ever 155-pound champion for the promotion.
Pulver won the title by unanimous decision and would post two successful title defenses, the second of which came against UFC legend BJ Penn, before leaving the promotion due to a contractual dispute.
After fighting around the world, Pulver eventually made his way back to the UFC in 2006 and would coach "The Ultimate Fighter" opposite Penn, leading to a rematch in which Penn scored a submission victory.
"Jens Pulver is a pioneer of the sport who was not only the first lightweight champion in UFC history, but someone who delivered some of the sport's most memorable moments," UFC president Dana White stated in a press release. "No one will ever forget his knockout of John Lewis or his win over BJ Penn in their first fight, and his fight against Urijah Faber in 2008 was the biggest fight in WEC history at the time. Jens could do it all in the Octagon, and it will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer."