This past week two mixed martial arts pioneers hung up their gloves.
Former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight champion “The Proidgy” B.J. Penn announced his intentions to retire after his loss to Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, July 6. Shortly afterward, “Lil’ Evil” Jens Pulver, the first UFC Lightweight champion, said that he would be hanging up the gloves.
Penn and Pulver have had outstanding careers, with both of them fighting in promotions across the world. While UFC President Dana White has guaranteed a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame, I don’t see why Pulver shouldn’t get a spot as well. Heck, I’d like to see them go into the Hall of Fame together.
Penn and Pulver have a bit of a history with each other. The two first faced each other in 2002 and Pulver successfully defended the UFC Lightweight title after a five-round war. They crossed paths again in 2007 as coaches on the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” They faced each other on the show’s finale where Penn was the victor after he submitted Pulver with a rear naked choke.
Both fighters took different paths. Penn would go on to win the UFC Lightweight title while Pulver fought in different promotions. His career hit resurgence when he fought Urijah Faber for the WEC Featherweight title. His most recent success included becoming a semifinalist in the ONE FC Bantamweight Grand Prix tournament.
Since then the two fighters have patched things up and even trained together, which is always one of the fascinating things about MMA. You have two fighters who have this big rivalry in the beginning and after a couple of fights they mend fences.
While they have appeared as adversaries in front of UFC fans, it would be good to see them on stage – or even in the octagon – as friends and hall of famers.
Who do you think should be the next inductees into the UFC Hall of Fame? Answer with a comment below or send a tweet to @cagepagesfs.