Veteran UFC lightweight Paul Felder is hanging up his four-ounce gloves after 10 years of mixed martial arts competition, almost seven of which were spent with the UFC.
Felder retires with a 17-6 record since making his professional MMA debut in 2011, going 9-6 in the UFC.
“The Irish Dragon” has publicly flirted with the idea of retirement for some time now – most notably following his narrow split decision loss to Dan Hooker in February, 2020.
The Philadelphia native did step back into the Octagon one more time later that year. He took a short-notice five-round main event bout with former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, replacing Islam Makhachev, last November. However, Felder said his fire to compete has waned over time.
“It’s been, really since February  since I fought Dan Hooker in New Zealand,” Felder said during Saturday’s UFC Fight Night broadcast, where he was serving as a co-commentator. “I got the fire back a little bit when I fought [Rafael dos Anjos] on five days’ notice. I thought it was back and ever since then I’ve spent most of my days swimming, biking, enjoying commentary, and enjoying my time with my family.
“I feel like it’s gotten to a point where I don’t have that burning desire to fight up for many more years and become the champion. I always said if I don’t see that title picture in the next year or so in my future then I’d retire, and I’d do it for my friends and family and myself. I’m 37 years old. I feel very fresh. I love the UFC with all my heart for everything that they’ve given me, for every opportunity I ever had and sitting here on this desk and doing television. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m going to keep doing this.
“I’m retiring officially from the sport of mixed martial arts and the UFC. I got as high as No. 6 in the world and got pretty close to fight for that belt. I fought some of the baddest dudes in this division, and I want to thank all of them. My apologies for holding up the division for all the guys below me and the young guns. I’m officially stepping down because it’s not right to hold up the division. I wish more people would do this. When it’s time, it’s time, and that’s it for me.”
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 23, 2021
The former Cage Fury Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder notched a number of wins over notable names while a part of the UFC roster.
Felder can boast a knockout win over today’s UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, as well as victories over the likes of Edson Barboza, James Vick, Steven Ray, Joshua Burkman, Danny Castillo and Daron Cruickshank.
Already an established broadcaster, covering fights usually on the UFC’s ESPN cards, Felder is expected to continue to play his part in helping grow the sport from behind the desk, rather than inside the cage.