Jens Pulver: My toughest fight is with depression
Jens Pulver Interview I´ve done last week
From: Jiu Jitsu doesn’t work
Member Since: 2/4/12
I´ve done an interview with the man Jens Pulver himself last week for a german MMA site…I just thought you might be interested, so I will post the original interview right here for you…enjoy it!
Here we go:
Jiu Jitsu doesn’t work: You´ve started wrestling in High School and shifted to MMA. What was the reason you did martial arts?
Jens Pulver: I just wanted to continue to be an athlete, I had been wrestling from 4th grade on and when MMA came around I knew it was a great fit for me.
JJDW: I´ve heard some stories, that you´ve been very successful in so called underground events…can you tell us more about that?
JP: I have a few fights in the very beginning that were literally on a few wall mats placed in the middle of the gym floor. I started when this sport wasn´t very mainstream, not sure why but the fewer the rules the better I did…lol.
JJDW: MMA underground events sound pretty brutal…do you prefer the rough version of MMA or the regulated fights?
JP: I am very happy with the way the sport has turned out, I mean don´t get me wrong, the days of no time limits were a blast but those rules were not going to help the UFC become the brand they wanted to be, to become a legit sport we needed to add some order to what was already considered chaos inside the cage…No weight limit, no weigh ins, no gloves, no rules was not going to propel our sport anywhere.
JJDW: Do fighters need some kind of violent attitude to be successful in this kind of sports? Today or back then when you started fighting?
JP: A violent attitude can only get you so far in a sport like MMA, having that animosity helps when you´re inside the cage / ring but the three months preparing for the fight is where you really need to find your groove.
Everyone gets fired up come fight day, but did they do enough in the camp leading up to it to go out there and perform? I can have a sweet looking machine all souped up on the outside looking mean but with no gas or directions at the end of the day I am going nowhere.
You do have to have the ability to stay focused and dedicated to your end goal, it´s not easy waking up every day and staying on the schedule that you have prepared, that is what makes it challenging…but as I type it, I realize it just like anything else. You design a plan and map out your path to reach a goal and you have to make it life or you won´t put %100 into it.
JJDW: It´s known that you always wanted to go out there and get the name Pulver in the mind of the people as a great name…what you definitely hit! Was that the reason, that you were such a hard working fighter?
JP: I set out to change the name, my father who is also named Jens Pulver did not give me something to look up to, he did not make me proud that I was named after my father. Pulver in my household was full of abuse, neglect, drugs and drinking, we had nothing to really be proud of as a family name.
I was hell bent on changing that, I wanted to give the rest of my family a last name that meant more than what we went through and wanted us all to be able to smile that our last name was Pulver and release us all from the abuse we suffered. I wanted only to represent my family to the best of my abilities and though towards the end I was losing more in the cage, I was winning outside of it and became the husband and father I was always told myself I would become. That is what I set out to do, change the name and give my family something to smile about. My family is everything to me.
JJDW: You´re well known for your heart in a fight…that´s something many people are missing in today’s generation of fighters. What´s the difference of your generation and today’s generation?
Jens: Money… not that it is a bad thing but when I first started out fighting, people thought I was nuts to even try it let alone try to make a career out of it, they did not have a 155 lbs class, it was only legal in three states and you could only really hear about it on the internet.
We fought because it was all about doing what we know to the best of our abilities and along the way try to support ourselves doing it. Look at how much that has changed.
JJDW: After fighting at the Bas Rutten Invitational, you entered the UFC in 1999 at UFC 22. Such a long time ago, and you´re still fighting. UFC 22, long before the UFC and MMA get mainstream. Can you tell us the difference between then and today?
JP: I have a few more wrinkles and I am not as fast and mean as I use to be…lol.
JJDW: If you could, what would you change in today´s MMA?
JP: I would want the sport MMA to grow as much as the label UFC has, I am very happy and always amazed at just how big the UFC has become it´s amazing to think about.
The sport itself is not that big, if it was bigger MMA organizations would not have gone belly up due to lack of interest. I would love to see MMA become gigantic and I feel it is starting to go down that path, you see Bellator still out there and a new all women’s show Invicta FC doing incredible things and that is great to see, again I love the UFC but I am a MMA fighter and I would love to see that world grow, right on down to a legit amateur program where one day younger fighters could win a national title maybe even olympic gold like in boxing…but those ammy rules need to change so that can happen.
JJDW: You´ve traveled around the world, fighting for so many organizations like the UFC, WEC, PRIDE and ONE FC…can you tell us the best experiences you´ve had?
JP: Man, that is a question that would require me to type for hours, I have had a blast with all my travels and stories that I have achieved while fighting.
JJDW: You were the first UFC Lightweight Champion ever…how was that feeling?
JP: That was an amazing feeling to win that title, I had achieved the goal that I had left my family and all that I knew to move out to Iowa and start over. I had dreams about being a world champion for so long and I just remember thinking this didn´t just happen, the next night after the fight I kept waking up and looking at the belt, yeah that´s right…I slept right next to that bad boy for about three days and every time I would look at it I kept saying to myself I really did it, I really won this thing and became the UFC lightweight world champion.
JJDW: Also the rumor is, that you´ve invented the Sprawl and Brawl Style in MMA…what do you say about that?
JP: I say I was just part of a style (wrestling) that was trying to grow as the sport did, Pat Miletich was a great coach and the guys ´n girls at MFS were awesome teammates, we just knew as wrestlers we could dictate where the fight went, if they were great on the ground we kept them standing and if they were great on their feet we took them down, that is what wrestling is in MMA, the dictator.
The wrestling style allowed you to dictate what level the fight would happen standing, clinch, and ground. Now that is in theory, it´s up to each fighter to go out there and dictate where they want the fight, but as a wrestler that was my number one goal at all times inside that cage, fight where I wanted the fight to happen.
JJDW: What was the most important fight of your whole career?
JP: The most important fight to me is the one I am still battling with today, anxiety and depression.
It has owned my life for the longest time and I battle every day with it, I have to wake up every day and remind myself I am not garbage and I have to go through all the things I am thankful for.
Most people would fall off their seats if they asked me to describe myself to them. You would read it and think damn this guy thinks so little about himself and what he has done and it confuses them.
Well it confuses me as well and that´s why I learn every day how to train my brain and stop being my own worst enemy. It´s a battle I hope to one day beat and help others who are going through the same thing. I started NVRFLYSOLO to do just that, it has been my release.
JJDW: Are you still fighting for ONE FC? Is there any opponent in sight?
JP: No I am not fighting with them anymore.
JJDW: Imagine your life without MMA…
JP: I can’t.
JJDW: What are your future plans?
JP: I am slowly working on a project called NVRFLYSOLO…directed towards anxiety and depression and show people they are not alone in this fight. We use stories, quotes, and poems and any form of writing as a way to battle our inner demons. My goal in life to help others, I want to take care of our abused, bullied, and left behind children who need guidance and just a little direction in life. I am not sure how to put it all together but that is what my future will hold for me, somehow some way I will be able to make that life a reality and save the youth that is being left behind. They will NVRFLYSOLO as long as I am here to be a support.
JJDW: What´s the private Jens doing? You´re having two kids, and I´ve heard that you are passionate about video and pc games…
Jens: PC games are a huge part of my life, I love the graphics the detail the overall gameplay of today´s video games. I have been working with Middleeasy.com and we have been doing some streaming…we just started this game called Smite and it has been a blast learning how to play it, we stream it and people can listen to us and chat with us live while we are playing, follow me @jens_pulver until we get it all ironed out and make a show of it, we end up putting it together last minute and tweeting it out there. Redharbinger PC Desks has been one the coolest things I have been fortunate to be a part of, I love the crew at redharbinger.com you should check out the desks.
And yes if you are wondering…I am one of the biggest “wannabe” Nerds around.
My wife is starting her new project teaching asian cooking classes, difference is you can contact her @nikka_wtf and book a party at your own home. You check off what foods you want to cook and she comes in and you all begin to learn, it´s a hell of a concept. My kids are healthy and growing. I will spare the world the longer version of my answers and leave it at this.