Former UFC lightweight contender, Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder has remained coy regarding recent speculation linking him with a potential Octagon return and the snapping of his retirement from the sport, claiming that he is considering making a retirement u-turn.
Felder, a divisional top-ten during his stint with the UFC, confirmed his decision to walk away from the sport as a competitor back in May during the broadcast of UFC Vegas 27, confirming his intentions to fully focus on his blossoming career as an analyst and color-commentator for the organization.
The Philidelphia native made massive waves back in November of last year, replacing a staph ridden, Islam Makhachev during the week of UFC Vegas 14 at the UFC Apex facility — tackling former division champion, Rafael dos Anjos in a main event slot on short notice — after he was slated to work the commentary booth at the event.
Felder, a staple of Roufusport, sent fans into raptures with a recent tweet, where he explained how he had begun to miss the grinding process of training.
“Today’s agenda — pad-work, bike 1:40 sweet spot work, swim mixing paddle sets and pull buoy work. Relaxed day. Mixing that tri (triathlon) life back in with MMA. Can’t believe it took me almost a year to truly miss the grind.”
Speculation began to mount when Felder’s management firm, SuckerPunch Management shared a text exchange with the fan-favorite, in which he states that he misses “it” a little bit.
In a brief video posted by UFC play-by-play commentator, Brendan Fitzgerald, Felder addressed a potential Octagon return, explaining how he plans to train with the likes of upcoming feature, grappling ace, Sean Brady and co at Roufusport for a week, before then deciding if he wants to kickstart his fighting career once more.
“For the first time, in a very long time since retirement, I feel like since the triathlon season has slowed and there’s not a lot of races, that I’ve really had a chance to reflect on — that it’s over, that I’m not fighting anymore, and I’ve missed it tremendously,” Felder told commentators Fitzgerald and Laura Sanko.
“I’ve started hitting pads and I’ve started doing stuff — now, that’s not to say that I’m making some comeback, but I’m definitely, gonna come home and train with Sean Brady and the guys a little bit. And I wanna see how I feel after a week of Sean Brady, Jeremiah Wells, Pat Sabatini, Andre Petroski, these guys that are all Philly guys in the UFC now, kick my ass and we’ll go from there.”
Felder then explained his situation regarding the USADA anti-doping testing pool, claiming that because his official retirement came less than six months ago, that process may be expedited.
“That’s a tricky situation, but I think, because I was in it for so long, or I haven’t been out of it that long, that I could be expeditated but it would be a couple months I’d think.”
While Felder stressed that he is still only considering a potential return to professional fighting, a period back on the mats at Roufusport in Milwaukee may bring with it a potential further itch to return to active competition.
Over the course of his impressive UFC tenure which began back in October 2014, Felder has managed to take home impressive victories over the likes of Danny Castillo, Daron Cruickshank, Josh Burkman, Stevie Ray, James Vick, Edson Barboza, and is also the last opponent to defeat current undisputed lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira.
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