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Paul Felder quells retirement talk, eyes UFC Dublin main event: ‘It’s got to be something exciting’

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UFC Fight Night: Felder v Hooker
Paul Felder
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Paul Felder has cooled on retirement talk since his post-fight interview following his five-round war with Dan Hooker in the main event of UFC Auckland, but “The Irish Dragon” insists that he would need to be offered something significant to get him back into the Octagon.

The American lightweight left New Zealand with a narrow loss in which many had scored the fight for him. Felder was forced to elongate his stay in the country due to injuries he suffered in the epic 25-minute contest and underlined his intention to score another marquee bout for his next trip to the Octagon.

“When I come back, when that big fight comes up, I feel like the UFC is going to give us something cool to get in there,” Felder told MMA Fighting’s Eurobash podcast.

“At this point, it’s got to be something exciting. And I’m not saying I deserve a million of those, but if you’re going to get me back I’m willing to wait around for a little bit - I’m in no rush. I took a good amount of damage in that fight, it was a five-round decision.”

Felder’s name was one of the most prominent among Irish and European fans when pondering who could headline the UFC’s return to Dublin, Ireland, in August and he admitted that it would be a “dream come true” to fight in the Emerald Isle.

“Obviously, Dublin is something I’ve reached out [about], Duke has made it pretty clear that we want that. It’s a pretty quick turnaround for me, but for that card I would love to do it. To go fight in Ireland, it would just be so much fun. I’m ‘The Irish Dragon’ and I’ve got ancestry going back to them. I could sit here and get my uncle Mark and my uncle Jack on to tell you every lineage and town where we’re from and all that kind of nonsense...even though some people just think I’m a German tw*t.”

After citing the insult that Conor McGregor posted to social media and later deleted, Felder discussed how he reacted to the slight as he was cutting weight.

“I just think he’s aware of the division,” Felder said of McGregor.

“He comes after everyone; he puts feelers out on everything. He’s a businessman in that way; he wants to be the alpha dog. It’s his way of being the boss - making comments to anybody and everybody. I don’t think it meant too much, he deleted it afterwards. I didn’t jump on that bait because it was literally... I had just gotten out of the sauna, cut like seven pounds, we were close to weigh ins and I was going to lay down until we had to cut the last half-a-pound. As exciting as that is to have one of the biggest stars call you a tw*t on social media, I didn’t want to make the mistake that so many people would have of addressing that right then and there and taking any respect away from Dan Hooker, who obviously deserved every bit of my attention for that fight.”

Felder revealed how UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby told him that he doesn’t want him to retire yet and explained why he feels as though he is in a different place than most fighters who have openly discussed their looming retirements.

“I feel like if you’re getting knocked out multiple times in a row and you’re talking about retirement, you should most definitely retire. I was coming off of a win streak and arguably won the fight in a five-round main event, so you’re thinking, ‘Well, that could’ve been a bit premature.’ In the moment I was just upset, I was disappointed and I missed my daughter and I wanted to get home. I kind of got caught up in that limelight a little bit and wore my emotions on my sleeve a little too much.”

Felder again highlighted that a UFC Dublin main event would a “bucket list” goal for his fighting career.

“That’s one of those bucket list things that I have to check off now,” he said.

“I’ve invaded all of these countries where everybody is out to have me lose. It would be nice to go to one where I feel like I’ve got a lot of support from the fanbase and to go and rock that house over in Dublin. I’d maybe rock some green shorts for that one, that would be a dream come true for sure man. Just to smell the beer spilling in that place would be out of control.”

Check out Paul Felder’s latest appearance on Eurobash. It begins at 5:00.