We all know stories of mythical beings from across the globe, in the combat sports world, we have our own. A man with amazing heart and determination, who never gave up despite the difficulty in the task ahead of him. “The Irish Dragon” was a fighter to behold, a striking friendly style with high capabilities in grappling made him a fan favorite early on in his career. Felder made the announcement of his retirement at UFC Vegas 27 so now, let’s take a deeper look into the career of Paul Felder.
Felder made his amateur debut in 2010, he would go 1-1 until heading into a professional career. “The Irish Dragon” started his professional stint in the promotion known as CFFC (12), he would jump in and out of the promotion scoring exciting finishes putting UFC scouts on notice. On his eight-fight win streak before entering the number one combat sports promotion, he would win with a spinning heel kick putting his opponent out cold in what was a very dominating performance.
Riding this hype, Felder stepped into the octagon looking to stick to his dominating style, however, his first test proved to be a somewhat difficult one where he would scrape a split decision win against Jason Saggo. His next bout scored him the highlight finish of his UFC tenure, a spinning back fist knockout halfway through the second round.
A Rough Stint At the Peak of His Career
“The Irish Dragon” had proved himself as UFC worthy but his next few bouts saw him win some and lose some. His first loss was against one of the most lethal kickers in all of mixed martial arts, Edson Barboza. Felder faced his toughest test to date when stepping in the cage against the Brazilian, body and leg kicks would ultimately deal damage and keep “The Irish Dragon” at bay allowing him to win a closely contested unanimous decision.
A controversial split decision loss against Ross Pearson would be next for Felder and it was at this point that he had to take a serious look at his approach to these fights. A submission and decision win proved “The Irish Dragon” was still worthy of being on the roster but he next found himself against a dangerous Franciso Trinaldo. Felder looks at this loss as his biggest learning curve as it was his only chance at a ranked opponent at the time and he almost killed himself making weight.
The End of The Irish Dragon: The Paul Felder Retirement
Felder got his revenge on Barboza but would drop wins to Mike Perry, Dan Hooker and finally, Rafael Dos Anjos. Throughout all of his victories and defeats, “The Irish Dragon” showed nothing but heart, strength and determination. He will continue to sit cage side on fight nights to give us glorious in-depth commentary and even corner some up and coming fighters, sometimes, he will even do both on the same night.
His last two outings came to a close conclusion, with controversy. Split decision losses against Hooker and Dos Anjos ultimately gave Felder his calling to never have to return home to his loved ones with new fight scars. “The Irish Dragon” has an amazing future ahead of him beyond his fighting career
Felder has gone on to voice his concerns on weight cutting in mixed martial arts, he hopes that future athletes do not follow him in forcing the body to surpass its healthy capability. With retirement now in the rear-view window, we could see Felder go on to coach some future stars in the sport. Thank you for joining me in looking back on the career of “The Irish Dragon”!
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