Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports.

Jens Pulver

A charismatic fighter with big power in his hands, Jens Pulver had the makings of being a breakout star when he knocked out John Lewis in 11 seconds and then became the UFC’s first ever lightweight champion in 2001 with a victory over Caol Uno.

By that stage Pulver had amassed a 10-2-1 record, including four wins and a draw inside the Octagon, and he’d build on that further in the year to come as he defeated Dennis Hallman and then handed the much-hyped BJ Penn his first ever loss.

With Pulver’s current deal at an end he was expecting a bumper new contract, but was left disillusioned with an offer several times less than other UFC champions and left for more bigger paying opportunities.

Pulver would go on to fight for a string of promotions over the next couple of years, going 6-2 in the process, then signed for PRIDE, where he suffered a KO loss to Takanori Gomi and TKO defeat against Hayato Sakurai, though he did notch up two KO victories against lesser opposition as well.

Pulver then racked up a KO win in the IFL before finally getting a chance to return to the UFC, four years after he left, but it didn’t go well, being KO’d by Joe Lauzon in 47 seconds and then submitted by BJ Penn before being released.

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