“The Irish Dragon” is breathing fire at Conor McGregor.
At media day for UFC Vegas 14 on Thursday, lightweight contender Paul Felder was given the opportunity to respond to Twitter insults directed at him by Conor McGregor and he didn’t mince words. McGregor, one of most famous Irish sports stars in the world, has poked fun at Felder’s heritage claims in the past, referencing the Germanic origins of Felder’s name in a pair of since-deleted tweets (screenshots of which can be viewed here).
Reminded of the comments, Felder noted that McGregor may want to examine his own background before casting aspersions.
“If he’s talking about my name which is more German, then let’s talk about his Scottish name and how he’s Scottish then,” Felder said. “Shut the f*ck up. … Go blow some lines and shut the f*ck up.”
Felder finds himself in Las Vegas and in front of the media due to unforeseen circumstances. He is scheduled to fight Rafael dos Anjos in Saturday’s main event after stepping in on five days’ notice as a replacement for Islam Makhachev. He was supposed to be focusing on training for a marathon and preparing notes for Saturday and next week’s episode of Dana White’s Contender Series, but now finds himself back in fighter mode.
With Thursday marking the 26th anniversary of the UFC’s first show, Felder was asked to recall some of his favorite moments as a commentator and he mentioned a close encounter with McGregor as being one of several classic events he’s covered.
“Conor McGregor vs. [Donald] ‘Cowboy’ [Cerrone] was a crazy one,” Felder said. “To have that, to see Conor make his walk in front of those crazy crowds, that was definitely something even though he’s in the division and we potentially could face off with each other someday, it was so much fun to be part of that.
“To have him even say, ‘F U to me,’ I believe, from cageside there, that one stands out.”
Felder has to deal with dos Anjos before considering any other fights and the same is true for McGregor, who is in the final stages of negotiations for a rematch with Dustin Poirier expected to take place in January. In their first meeting six years ago, McGregor defeated Poirier by first-round TKO.
Though Felder has yet to personally face off with either man, he was able to don his analyst cap to break down the matchup.
“I think Poirier’s a much different beast than obviously they were when they fought at 145 pounds,” Felder said. “Listen, you can say what you want about Conor and he can talk all the trash about me that he wants, but I think he’s extremely skillful and if Dustin tries to stand with him I think it could be another crazy war and I think it’s anybody’s fight at that point if they just plan on boxing each other.
“I think it will be a little more competitive this time. I think Dustin can bring it and not get caught as early, and he doesn’t have as drastic of a weight cut since it will be at 155 pounds and not down at 145. So yeah, it should be a good one.”
Six years into his UFC career, Felder has made it known that he’s angling for big fights as he winds down, which includes names like dos Anjos and McGregor. He’s unsure if a bout with “The Notorious” ever comes to fruition, but if the opportunity comes to call his shot he’s going to take it.
“I’ve got to win this five-day fight first before I can even start talking about that kind of stuff,” Felder said. “Obviously, these are the fights that I want. If I win on Saturday, these are the fights that I would like to get. Getting my name out there, doing things like this, and getting the exposure, you’ve got to do some bold things sometimes to get your name out there and to get people interested in you.
“The UFC doesn’t want to market you if people don’t care about you, so you’ve got to step up to the plate sometimes and swing for the fences.”