Paul Felder surprised the MMA community when he announced his retirement from the sport during the broadcast of UFC Vegas 27, where he was serving as a commentator.
Felder, who’s currently sitting at number nine in the UFC lightweight rankings, said that he was retiring from MMA because he doesn’t see a clear path to the title in near future, and at his age, he believes he needs to focus on his family and his role as an analyst and commentator.
“I don’t have a burning desire to fight up for many more years and become a champion,” Felder said. “I always said if I don’t see that title picture a year or so into my future, I would retire and I would do it for my friends, family and myself. I’m 37 years old and I feel very fresh. I love the UFC with all my heart for everything they’ve given me and the opportunity they’ve given me [to commentate]. I’m retiring officially from the sport of mixed martial arts.”
‘The Irish Dragon’ made his UFC debut in 2014, and earned a highlight-reel spinning back fist victory against Danny Castillo in only his second appearance. Over the years, Felder amassed a 9-6 record in the UFC, but four of his losses came by way of split decision.
Here’s a look at Felder’s top three performances inside the UFC Octagon.
Paul Felder vs Danny Castillo
Felder entered UFC 182 as a significant underdog against Danny Castillo on less than a month’s notice. The lightweights threw down for over a round, before the Philadelphia native surprised the Team Alpha Male representative with a vicious spinning back fist midway through the second round.
Castillo crashed onto the canvas instantly, as Felder followed up with additional shots to close the show. According to Tapology, only 14 percent users had picked him to win.
Paul Felder vs Charles Oliveira
After an unsuccessful run at featherweight, Charles Oliveira faced a major roadblock in Felder in what was his second fight after returning back to lightweight in 2017.
Oliveira was Felder’s toughest test of his career on the ground, but he passed it with flying colours. After a few striking exchanges early in the first round, the Brazilian secured a takedown and had Felder in some trouble, but he was able to hold his own on the mat, finishing the round on the offensive.
In the second round, the two again spent majority of the time on the ground, but Felder had the better of the exchanges. The newly-retired fighter finished the job with vicious elbows late in the round.
Felder is the last man to beat reigning champion Oliveira, who’s currently on a nine-fight win streak.
Paul Felder vs Dan Hooker
Felder’s UFC Auckland fight with Dan Hooker was certainly one of his toughest, and although he lost by split decision, he showcased his warrior spirit to the world.
The fight was an extremely close one. Both fighters started off aggressively in the first round, but ‘The Hangman’ was more effective. Felder started to have more success at the end of the second round, but the New Zealander was still using his range and reach advantage to land strikes.
In the fourth and fifth rounds however, Felder did more damage and landed the bigger shots, but both had their moments. Although the judges ruled the fight in his opponent’s favour, many, including referee John McCarthy, thought Felder was ‘robbed’.
What are your favourite memories of Paul Felder inside the Octagon?