Paul Felder made the MMA headlines on Tuesday night when he decided to step in on five days’ notice to fight Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 14. “The Irish Dragon” replaced Islam Makhachev to face the former 155-pound champion in a five-round headliner.
In February, the 35-year-old Felder was on the verge of calling it quits after taking a split decision loss to Dan Hooker. He eventually decided to fight on, but as he told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Tuesday, there’s still a possibility for him to go down that road if he comes out victorious against RDA.
“I say 50-50,” Felder responded when asked about his chances of retiring on Saturday night. “I was thinking about that. What a way to just be like, ‘Boom! Mic drop.’
“(The odds will) probably do increase (if I win),” he continued. “If I lose, then I might want to have to get back in there for one more. It might eat away at me, just kind of like the Hooker fight that I was ready to move on. And then it’s like, ‘No.’ I still haven’t proven quite what I’m capable of.”
The other 50 percent for Felder would be to pick up a win over dos Anjos and possibly be granted a better opportunity afterward. Overall, he has nothing to lose.
“I know I’m nearing the end of my career soon, and this, I think, it’s win-win for me,” Felder said. “Because if I go in there and I can finish and beat RDA, a former champ, then it gives me a lot of selling points to be getting these bigger fights which seem to have been eluding me in the top five of the lightweight division here in the UFC. How do you not give me something big after this if I go in there after stepping up?
“If it doesn’t go my way, then I saved the day. I’m going in there to try to win.”
Felder vs. dos Anjos takes place at the APEX Facility.