Paul Felder was a late call up at UFC 226 when he took on Mike Perry after Perry’s original opponent Yancy Medeiros withdrew from the fight a week out. Felder went on to lose to Perry via split decision, though he valiantly fought the majority of the bout with a broken arm and even outscored Perry on one of the judges’ scorecards.
“The Irish Dragon” appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday to discuss his short notice fight talking through how the injury occurred and how he tried to compensate for it.
“First round, I threw a spinning back fist, landed on the top of his head and broke it,” Felder said. “And right in between rounds, I noticed I couldn’t make a fist all the way, and I could feel shifting and crunching in my forearm the whole time. I couldn’t make a full fist and I couldn’t grip anything with it. I couldn’t fight hands or really grab a hold of Mike when I was trying to clinch him. And I was afraid to throw elbows with it. It was definitely the most chaotic, crazy MMA experience I’ve ever had.”
Looking back at the fight, Felder admitted that Perry deserved the win and it was a "fair" decision although would have preferred not to be fighting with a broken arm for most of it.
“I take nothing away from Perry,” Felder said. “I’ve watched that fight, and I think it’s fair that it went to him. I would have done more if my right hand was feeling better. I would have thrown a lot more two’s and had better defense, but I think it’s a fair decision.”
Felder dismissed the suggestion that the move up a division to welterweight had anything to do with the loss.
“I don’t think (weight) was the issue. I honestly think the only thing that really set me back big time was my arm got hurt, we headbutted each other right off the bat, so I got a gash in my hairline. Then, he got me with that good left hook and split me open really bad. So yeah, it was just a lot of little circumstances that just happens in fights. I don’t think any of them had to do with being at welterweight.”
At 34 years old, the longtime lightweight said he hasn’t made up his mind where his future lies regarding weight division but admitted he’s happier fighting at the heavier 170 pound limit.
“I haven’t yet [decided on staying at welterweight or not]," Felder said. "We’ll see what my weight does, too. I’m already back in the 90s right now. I was 193 this morning. Where is that gonna go with inactivity? I might get close to 200 pounds. Or I might lose weight because I’m not lifting as much, so we’ll see. I’ve had different coaches think different things. My mom, first of all, doesn’t even want me to think about going back to 155. And most of my friends agree, ‘Man, you’re a lot more pleasant…you’re returning phone calls a lot better when you’re eating and fighting at 170.’
“I don’t know, man,” Felder continued. “That’s a good question. Why would you want to go through that? I’m 34, man. I’m not getting younger in this sport. It’s definitely something I’m going back and forth on. I really do want to just ride out my career slugging it out and seeing where I go at 170, having great training camps, not killing myself, and then putting on performances like that.
“I mean, imagine how much better that fight is if I don’t break my arm. Even if I don’t win, imagine how much more exciting that fight could have been if I’m not dealing with a broken bone. I feel like, at welterweight, there are quite a few matchups like that, where I can just, ‘Let’s collect bonus money,” which we should have gotten for that one. Holy crap. That was disappointing.”