MMA legend and veteran Jens “Lil Evil” Pulver (27-18-1) takes on Swedish veteran Sami Aziz(5-3-1) in the headlining bout of Superior Challenge 9 this weekend. I had a chance to speak with the ever candid Pulver before he took off for Sweden.
So what’s the game plan for this fight?
“The game plan is, it’s simple. I want to go in there, get my hands in position. I want to make him respect my hands. So, my goal is to go out there and work on my hands. If you hit me twice, I’m going to hit you four times. And if you try to punch me four times I’m going to try a combination on you that’s going to make you turn around and run.”
Azis clearly has less experience than you in the Octagon Do you think this will prove to be an advantage for you?
“He’s the real deal. And that’s the thing, I mean, he may have started late for his age in MMA but he’s dominating the wrestling world, being in the Olympics and doing things like that. I mean, he’s a challenge. The problem is, no matter who it is that I’m fighting, and I always say this and I continue to say this, that’s not the problem. The problem is will I make this opponent jump or will I run through him because I think I can.”
You’ve been very upfront about your battles with depression and anxiety how is your mental focus prior to this fight then?
“I’m going to win the battle myself. I’m battling myself. I was world champion and I had game plans and I stuck with them and I was positive, and I loved the idea of getting punched and that’s why I keep on fighting. People ask me all the time, why are you fighting? Because, man, I’m trying to walk away with a smile on my face and be proud that I did this sport for living. And that’s what I’m doing. My game plan is this, I want to establish what I was great at my sprawl and brawl, my punch, my power. I want to develop a game plan and stick to it, and not let the anxiety and depression set it and I think I shouldn’t be here. Get out of here, you better run. Okay, you’re in trouble, you know. I want to be that that’s what I want”
Look for this to be an explosive fight when they meet as both fighters have heavy hands and strong wrestling backgrounds. Pulver has the advantage when it comes to experience however 14 years over Azis eight. Pulver was also the UFC’s first ever lightweight champ and he went on to defend his belt twice with notable wins over Dennis Hallman and B.J. Penn.
Superior Challenge 9 takes place this Saturday November 23, 2013 7:00pm EST Scandinavium Gothenburg, Sweden.