Former rivals BJ “The Prodigy” Penn and Jesn “Lil Evil” Pulver have a long and checkered past when dealing with each other. Pulver handed Penn his first defeat when “The Prodigy” fought him for his UFC Lightweight Title in 2002. Though Penn was only a three-fight veteran at the time, most expected Pulver to lose based on the amount of hype that Penn carried with him into the fight. After Pulver defeated Penn over five rounds a rivalry developed that would follow the two into the recreation of the UFC’s lightweight division. The UFC chose to revive the dead lightweight division by pitting Penn and Pulver against one another as opposing coaches on the fifth season of The Ultimate Fighter. During that show’s taping their rivalry grew more bitter and by the time they fought at the show’s finale, they had developed a sincere dislike for one another. Penn defeated Pulver that night but in the process the two seemingly buried the hatchet, with Penn even inviting Pulver to train with him. Now, some three years later and with Pulver on a serious losing skid, the two have finally combined forces and have issued a video through BJPenn.com depicting their reunion and newfound friendship.
“I’ve known this guy for a long time and over the years I’ve done some bad stuff to him, I’ve said some bad stuff about him and as a man to another man I want to apologize,” Penn said in the video. “I was just a young kid growing up, envious of him for kicking my butt but actually he kept me around for all these years because I wanted to win the title and leave. Jens said, ‘You ain’t done with MMA and I’m gonna show you why.’ He beat me down and I apologize for all of the bad things over the years.”
For Pulver, who has been having considerably less amounts of success than Penn lately, the two fighters’ new connection has had a rejuvenating effect.
“This, to me, is about the coolest thing in the world–if I can steal this moment–because for me, having BJ sit next to me–everybody is talking about the show and it was real, we drove each other nuts but in a lot of ways he saved me a lot of times,” said Pulver. “Like I said, I’ve got gooesbumps now. I’m in this hard time, I’m the one who can’t find the Ws, I’m struggling and it’s my brother who just rolls up, takes me over here and it’s just huge, it means the world to me.”
The two men met in California at the RVCA training center and appeared to be helping each other in the final stages of preparation for their upcoming fights. Penn is set to attempt to reclaim the UFC Lightweight Championship that was so recently his from Frankie Edgar, the man who narrowly took it from him at UFC 112, this August 28th at UFC 118. Pulver, despite many calling for his retirement since he has posted a five fight losing streak, will be taking on Diego Garijo this weekend at Powerhouse Promotions: War on the Mainland.