Longtime UFC veteran Paul Felder announced his retirement from fighting this past Saturday. The Philadelphia native announced his decision while working on the commentary team for UFC Vegas 27. “When it’s time, it’s time. I feel it,” Felder said.
“I feel like it’s gotten to a point where I just uhm, I don’t have that burning desire to fight up for many years to become the champion. I always said if I don’t see that title picture in the next year or so in my future that I would retire, and I would do it for my friends and my family and myself, to save myself. I’m 37 years-old, I feel very fresh. I love the UFC with all my heart for everything that they’ve given me, for every opportunity I’ve ever had to be sitting here at this desk, to be working on television. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and i’m gonna keep doing this.”
“The Irish Dragon” will be walking away while currently ranked #9 in the UFC Lightweight division. He was in the midst of a two fight losing streak, with one being a short notice loss to RDA and the other a close, main event loss to Dan Hooker in the latter’s hometown of Auckland, New Zealand.
Felder pondered retirement in the Octagon after the Hooker fight. It was a very grueling, close fight and one that severely hampered Felder’s chances at winning UFC gold. A win over Hooker could have potentially set him up for a title eliminator, but as things stand right now, Felder would likely have to fight for a few more years to even have a prayer at a title shot. Ultimately, Felder revealed that his decision to walk away was pretty much made that evening, it was just a matter of officially getting there.
Paul Felder has become a fan favorite over the years due to his excellent commentary and very entertaining fighting style. Felder always lived up to his reputation as a hard-nosed Philly fighter, as he fought in several bloody and tightly contested bouts. He always had great elbow strikes, highlighted by a brutal spinning backfist knockout of Danny Castillo in 2015.
All told, Paul Felder will walk away from the UFC with a promotional record of 9-6. This is a very, very deceptive win-loss record and a prime example of how that stat needs context in MMA. Felder picked up wins over Edson Barboza, James Vick and current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira over his career. His losses came against elite UFC talent and he was never knocked out cold. The only time he was stopped in the UFC was from a nasty cut caused by Francisco Trinaldo.
His late career run at lightweight was arguably the best stretch of his career. The Hooker fight was very, very close with many fans believing that Felder won. Either way, Felder was truly knocking on the door for a title shot shortly before his retirement.
While Paul Felder never won a UFC belt, he was a CFFC Lightweight champion. Felder debuted with CFFC back in 2011 in Atlantic City. The card Felder debuted on was only the now rapidly growing promotion’s 12th installment.
Fighters and the MMA community at large have sent their well wishes to Felder. Conor McGregor — who once called Felder out — wished him the best via Twitter. Felder was also praised by members of the MMA media. “What a run he had. A fighter’s fighter who never gave less than 100%,” said Ariel Helwani. UFC Fight Pass also added a “best of Paul Felder” playlist to celebrate his career.