Paul Felder

The Irish Dragon


Announces shocking retirement
May 22, 2021
Felder announced on Saturday's UFC broadcast that he is retiring from active mixed martial arts competition.
Felder, who is working as a color commentator for ESPN, made the shocking announcement following the competition of the Norma Dumont v. Felicia Spencer fight. Although "The Irish Dragon" had lost two fights in a row (Rafael dos Anjos, Dan Hooker), both came via split decision, and he appeared to have plenty left in the tank. Felder's biggest win with the company came back in December 2017, a knockout victory over newly-crowned UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira. The 36-year-old Philadelphia native is a charismatic, well-spoken guy who has done an excellent job in his analyst role. We'll see plenty of Felder moving forward, just not inside the Octagon.
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Facing six-month suspension
November 17, 2020
Felder is facing a six-month suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission for an injury he sustained during Saturday's event at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, MMA Junkie reports.
Felder apparently suffered an elbow injury during his loss to Rafael dos Anjos on Saturday which could potentially knock him out of MMA competition until May, barring clearance from a physician. It didn't stop him from jumping right back in the announcer's booth for Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series just a few days later, however. Felder currently maintains a 17-6-0 UFC record, and while he previously pondered retirement, it's unclear if that's still on his mind despite back-to-back losses.
Battles hard on five days' notice
November 14, 2020
Felder lost to Rafael dos Anjos via split decision (45-50, 48-47, 45-50) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
The 48-47 score in favor of Felder should be ground for immediate termination. Felder did everything he could but going up against a former UFC Lightweight Champion on just five days' notice was just too big of an ask. For those who don't know, Felder was scheduled to be the color commentator for ESPN for this card. When Islam Makhachev was forced to withdraw from the main event due to injury, Felder stepped in. Felder did just fine in the striking exchanges between the two men but had all sorts of difficulty with the grappling game of RDA. All things considered, it was an amazing effort from Felder given the circumstances. This projects as one of the rare instances in which a fighter sees his stock rise despite the setback.
Steps in on short notice
November 9, 2020
Felder will fight Rafael dos Anjos in a lightweight matchup scheduled for Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Felder last fought against Dan Hooker back in February and was reportedly considering retirement after suffering multiple orbital fractures. Rather than retire, he'll instead be stepping in on five days' notice for a five-round fight against dos Anjos, whose previously scheduled opponent, Islam Makhachev, withdrew Sunday due to a staph infection. Just what he'll be able to accomplish on such short notice remains to be seen. In dos Anjos, he'll face an opponent who's lost four of his last five fights, though all of those came at welterweight, rather than lightweight.
Intends to resume fighting career
April 19, 2020
Felder (face) intends to compete in the UFC at least one more time, he told Jon Anik during their F'N'A (Felder and Anik) Live Chat on Thursday.
Felder left the door open on a possible retirement following a five-round war with Dan Hooker last February in Auckland, but with a few months off, his sights are set on taking making the walk to the Octagon once more. The time off and ensuing quarantine seem to have sparked his desire to fight even more, and Felder intends to resume his goal of becoming a UFC champion. The 34-year-old sustained multiple facial fractures in the Hooker fight, and while he didn't offer details on a possible return date, it seems the door could be open when the UFC schedule picks back up later in 2020.
No surgery needed
March 5, 2020
Felder told Peter Carroll of that despite suffering multiple orbital floor fractures following his UFC Auckland loss to Dan Hooker, he is not expected to need surgery.
Felder estimates he'll need roughly eight weeks without contact before returning to training, though he did admit to some ankle troubles as well. He ended up hospitalized following his narrow loss to Hooker, due largely to kidney issues, but was later cleared. While retirement may be on the table (Felder has a bright future ahead as a commentator), the 34-year-old has so far been non-committal on his fighting future.