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Paul Felder ‘slighted’ by Edson Barboza’s UFC 242 appeal: ‘It was razor close’

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Edson’s Barboza’s plans to appeal his split-decision loss at UFC 242, and his subsequent protestations about the result, do not sit well with the victor of the lightweight Abu Dhabi bout Paul Felder.

Speaking in the aftermath of the contest, “The Irish Dragon” admitted that he knew it would be a “razor close” decision as he stood in the Octagon awaiting the decision.

“I knew it was razor close, I’d never deny that,” Felder told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“I fought Barboza’s fight and I knew it stylistically could’ve gone either way. If you look at the numbers, we were neck and neck. Overall, I threw more strikes and I landed more, and that’s probably because of my third round. He might have edged me out with a couple of strikes here and there over the first two rounds. I thought he won the first round, but based on my aggression…like when I landed shots I felt I staggered him and I don’t think he ever f*cking once staggered me in that fight.”

“The only time I got cut open was from head-butts, whether it was my fault or his fault, that doesn’t matter because they were not from his significant strikes,” Felder added. “I didn’t take a step back. I was moving forward the whole time, I was throwing with lethal intentions to knock him out, when I was on my back I split him open and I forced him to disengage from a top position on the mat where he could’ve easily tried to sit and win that round—he couldn’t because of the damage I was doing. I won that round and everybody who thinks otherwise, you’re entitled to your opinion, but it was a split decision, get over it.”

Although Felder understands Barboza’s frustration having come out on the wrong end of two split decisions during his UFC tenure, he admitted that he was upset to hear Barboza and his team portraying the decision as a robbery.

“I know he’s upset and I know that he has not had the best winning record lately, so I feel for him, I feel for his family and I know how much the money means to him. I know his wife even came out and said something like, ‘I have all these other opportunities, why can’t I go take them?’ With emotions and financial stuff, when you think you won the fight…we both thought we won that fight so I get it,” said Felder.

“Is it upsetting me, did it leave a bad taste in my mouth that these guys who I thought I was really cool with are basically saying that it was robbery? That’s what’s upsetting me most. If you just admitted that it was razor close and you felt you should’ve got the nod…yeah the judges are all over the place…but two of them scored it for me, not you. It sucks, I’ve been on the end of other split decisions, I’ve lost two split decisions in the UFC, so going into that decision I was nervous as hell. Look at his face, so was he. I know his guys were confident and they were yelling, ‘You’ve got this,’ but so was Duke [Roufus]. We were all just trying to stay positive out there to keep guys from losing their minds in those situations. There is so much tension when you’re awaiting decisions, especially after a war like that. We beat the crap out of each other, I think that’s what upsets me most out of all of it: I just had this epic rematch with Edson Barboza—the No. 7 guys versus the No. 10 guy—and we go at it and it should’ve been Fight of the Night…we put on an even better battle than we did the first time and what are we all talking about? [We’re] arguing back and forth over who should’ve won and that’s really unfortunate.”

Felder went on to highlight how he feels “slighted” by what’s happened in the aftermath of the back and forth bout.

“Yeah I kind of do [feel disrespected], I’ll be honest with you. I can’t sit here and say that I don’t feel slighted in some way. So much of my social media…I should be talking about this win and being seventh in the world, instead I’ve got his fans trying to trash me.”

Although Felder does think a third fight with Barboza is a possiblity for the future, he does not believe that fight will be his next port of call.

“At the end of the day, [a trilogy fight] is a possibility. Does that mean I want to do it right away, no. I’m No. 7 in the world right now and there are some guys ahead of me that I’m itching to face that are scheduled to fight.”

Check out the latest episode of Eurobash. The Paul Felder interview begins at 54:00.