Paul Felder, a former UFC fighter turned analyst, admits that he retired “a little too soon”, as he could have faced fellow rated lightweights like Tony Ferguson if he had stayed around.
Felder recently announced that none of the fights in the talented 155-pound weight class piqued his interest.
He said, “There’s plenty of guys below me that are amazing. Islam Makhachev, Diego Ferreira, Gregor Gillespie. They can probably beat me, I can probably beat them [but] I’m not excited about it. Tony Ferguson, three-fight losing streak. Not excited about that.
“I 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 than I could even count. I don’t want that anymore.”
Felder also admitted that the only thing keeping him going was the chance to become a champion. But, when he realised he wouldn’t be able to win the title, he decided to call it quits.
The 37-year-old also cited recent MMA tragedies as reasons for leaving the sport. He said, “I think this is the first time when I finally really think… after those two loses in a row [and] watching guys like Jacare break his arm. Watching Cowboy fight five more fights past when I think they should.
“I’m not going to be that guy. I’ve said from the very beginning of (my time in) the sport that fights past his expiration date. And I think it’s here. And I think it’s a touch early but I’d rather be a touch early than a touch late.”
Paul Felder calls time on his career
Felder announced his retirement in the middle of the UFC Vegas 27 broadcast. The 37-year-old veteran revealed that he’s ending his pro-MMA career after spending seven years with the UFC.
He stated, “I love the UFC with all my heart for everything that they’ve given me. For every opportunity that I had to be sitting here at this desk. To be working on television. Something that I’ve always wanted to do and I’m gonna keep doing this. And I’m retiring officially from the sport of mixed martial arts and from the UFC.”
Currently ranked number nine in the UFC’s 155-pound weight division, he will end his career with a 17-6 record. He last fought Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 182, losing in a close split decision after five rounds.