Instead of contemplating retirement, Paul Felder decided to come back and take a five-round main event bout against Rafael dos Anjos on just five days’ notice. He eventually lost a split decision to the former lightweight champ, but he performed well and put on a good fight throughout the 25-minute contest.
Apart from the absence of sparring and MMA training before the bout, Felder also cut over 20 lbs in a very short amount of time. It certainly wasn’t an easy task, but he even managed to be the first to step on the scale on weigh in day. After the consummate professional made his contracted weight limit, it’s not hard to imagine why Felder wasn’t too pleased to see how three other fighters on the card — who had a lot more time to prepare — badly missed weight.
“I can tell you I’m not done,” Felder said on his post-fight interview about previously considering hanging up the gloves. “I may lose my ranking a little bit, but what I’ve learned in this sport is that none of that matters. What matters is going out there, showing up, and showing who you are inside, what determination you have.
“And for those guys that missed weight and couldn’t make it here tonight, get your stuff together! Hire a nutritionist, get on a scale, make weight, and go perform! I was dying on Thursday night to get on that scale at 156 lbs, and I did it, and I showed up tonight for 25 minutes with no MMA training, just training for a triathlon. So get your stuff together, get your shit together, and let’s go!”
Felder has now dropped two straight split decisions in a row to Dos Anjos and Dan Hooker, but he did manage to put on a show and take “Fight of the Night” honors in both of them.
Prior to that, the 36-year-old won five out of six contests, with victories over contenders such as Charles Oliveira, James Vick and Edson Barboza.