I’d rather walk away ‘a touch early’ - Felder explains retirement decision

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Wild

Missing you Pey
Admin
Dec 31, 2014
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111,333
UFC lightweight contender Paul Felder sheds light on his retirement decision.



It was February 2020 when fan-favorite Paul Felder first broached the idea of retirement. “The Irish Dragon” left his gloves in the Octagon after a split decision loss to Dan Hooker in Auckland.

Felder did take on a short-notice fight in November against former champion Rafael dos Anjos, which he also unfortunately lost by split decision. During Saturday’s UFC Vegas 27 broadcast, the number nine-ranked 155-pound contender decided it was finally time to walk away from the sport.

Felder had a chance to talk to the media after the event and explained the factors that led to his decision.

“I don’t think I’m gonna get to the belt,” he said candidly. “I think this is the first time where I finally really think, like, after those two losses in a row, watching guys like Jacare break their arm, watching guys like Cowboy fight five more fights past when I think they should.

“And I’m like, ‘I’m not going to be that guy.’ I’ve said from the very beginning of this sport, I won’t be that guy that fights past his expiration date. And I think it’s here.

“I think maybe it’s a touch early, but I’d rather be a touch early than a touch late.”
Felder revealed signing a new contract, which he said was a very favorable one. But along with it came new realizations about no longer having the same passion for the sport he’d competed in for the last nine years.

“I got a new contract I haven’t even got to fight on yet,” he said. “So this shows you that this isn’t an easy decision and it’s not like I wasn’t getting the things I want… That’s when you know it’s time.

“After that RDA fight, they took my contract which still had three more fights on it, they threw it out and said, ‘here’s your new one.’ And it was a good one. It’s one I’ve always wanted, or at least close to it.

“Obviously, if I keep winning fights, it’ll get better. But whom am I gonna fight? Who am I gonna fight right now? There’s plenty of guys below me that are amazing. Islam Makhachev, Diego Ferreira, Gregor Gillespie… Yeah, they can probably beat me, I can probably beat them. I’m not excited about it. Tony Ferguson, three-fight losing streak, not excited about that. Don’t wanna do that.

“I don’t wanna do a week in the hospital, breaking my orbital, breaking my face, puncturing a lung. More scars and cuts than I can even count. I don’t want that anymore.”
Felder recalled the exact moment in training when he was absolutely sure it was time to hang it up.

“If I couldn’t get to the gym, an MMA gym, to either hit pads, grapple, spar, do something, I would lose my freaking mind,” he said. “And I have not been in an MMA gym in probably three months. And then before that, it might’ve been one pad session where I did five rounds, and then I was like, ‘I don’t feel like doing this.’

“That spark that I need to fight, especially the way I fight, it just wasn’t there anymore.

“The only reason that it took this long is because I really gave everybody a chance to kind of convince me. And the UFC was really patient with me and really good with me. Sean Shelby called me several times, had a conversation with me to see where my head was at.

“We had this conversation twice now, recently, and then the second one I finally called them back the other day, and I was like, ‘I’m retiring on Saturday. I’m done.’”
He may not have been able to reach his ultimate goal, but what legacy does Paul Felder want to leave behind?

“Somebody who had zero quit. That’s how I’d like to be remembered.”
The 36-year-old Felder holds notable wins over Edson Barboza, James Vick, and Charles Oliveira, to name a few. Throughout his six-year UFC run, he’s won three Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night honors apiece.


I’d rather walk away ‘a touch early’ - Paul Felder explains retirement decision
 

Dick Niaz

"Be available for life to happen" - Bill Murray
Jan 14, 2018
7,635
15,380
Paul Felder far surpassed his athletic ceiling and made it closer to the top of the MMA mountain than anyone could have expected. Outside of some recent Rogan-esque hyperbole, his commentary has been solid so I’ll look forward to him continuing on in that capacity. I’m glad the UFC gave his announcement some dedicated time and a vignette during last night’s event.
This is not a historic event but I’ll remember his fighting career as one that over-achieved as a result of work ethic and grit.
Also, most importantly he needs to keep his health if he is going to hold onto this
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John Lee Pettimore

Further south than you
May 18, 2021
797
779
Yeah Felder was always real easy to cheer for. A real blue collar, blood and guts fighter who earned every opportunity he ever got.

Two things in particular amuse me about him. One, he is clearly a far nicer guy and clearly MUCH less of a prick than his face would indicate he is. And second, he's far smarter than you first take him for. He speaks well off the cuff, makes insightful, non-obvious points on the regular, and just generally is a guy who works his ass off, puts his best foot forward and got everything out of whatever talent he has. He really had no business being a relevant contender in a stacked division, but there he was anyway for how many years? Have to respect a guy like that.

🇦🇺
 

jason73

northern gringo
First 100
Jan 15, 2015
57,612
110,749
why not pack it in early? he is not ever going to be champ yet he has had a solid career as a journeyman. why take extra damage if he doesnt have too? he is still employed by the ufc so he doesnt have to leave the sport and go teach private lessons to pay the bills . felder is a decent commentator so good for him . there is more longevity in the booth for him than in the cage.it is a smart move for his future
 

Maycee Barber Fan

Clipping Hoes like Sweeney Todd
Dec 1, 2015
7,234
11,861
Yeah Felder was always real easy to cheer for. A real blue collar, blood and guts fighter who earned every opportunity he ever got.

Two things in particular amuse me about him. One, he is clearly a far nicer guy and clearly MUCH less of a prick than his face would indicate he is. And second, he's far smarter than you first take him for. He speaks well off the cuff, makes insightful, non-obvious points on the regular, and just generally is a guy who works his ass off, puts his best foot forward and got everything out of whatever talent he has. He really had no business being a relevant contender in a stacked division, but there he was anyway for how many years? Have to respect a guy like that.

🇦🇺
Also didn't do himself any favours by calling himself the 'Irish Dragon' - made it seem like he was far more retarded than he actually is.

Guy wasn't a champ, but KOd a future one.
 

John Lee Pettimore

Further south than you
May 18, 2021
797
779
Also didn't do himself any favours by calling himself the 'Irish Dragon' - made it seem like he was far more retarded than he actually is.

Guy wasn't a champ, but KOd a future one.

Yeah that's true. Same with Marcus Davis. You're not Irish, you're American. I get it, I'm from an immigrant community myself, but I'm not going to market myself as being from somewhere I'm not, just because I have a connection to that place.

Irish Dragon is a cool fighting nickname, though.

I always take that last bit as a measure of success in a fighting career. Hardly anyone can ever get to wear the belt. Felder never got to fight for it - but in the UFC, he did TKO a man who didn't lose again until he claimed the title almost half a decade later. That's not nothing, that's something that he can definitely take with him. A lot of fighters would LOVE to have a TKO victory over a future UFC champion.

🇦🇺