Paul Felder got the MMA community excited about the possibility of one more UFC bout, and while he’s taken an important step towards that, Felder says no official decision has been made.
“I have no idea [if I’m fighting],” Felder said on the UFC Paris pre-fight show. “I rolled with Michael [Chiesa this week]. Honest to God — I know it blew up on social media — but I’m back training, I’m enjoying MMA again.
“For all the people that think I need both [hips replaced], I have bad hips, there’s no secret about that. I’ve had bad hips for years. But I am back in the USADA testing pool. That’s exactly where I’m at, but that is it.”
Felder had been back and forth on thoughts of retirement following a close decision loss to Dan Hooker at UFC Auckland in February 2020, but did come back nine months later to step in on short notice to fight Rafael dos Anjos in the main event of UFC Vegas 14, where he dropped his second consecutive split decision.
“The Irish Dragon” ended up announcing his retirement on the broadcast of UFC Vegas 27 in May 2021, citing that the spark to compete in the octagon “just wasn’t there anymore.” However, following the UFC Singapore main event between Max Holloway and The Korean Zombie — who announced his MMA career was over following a third-round knockout loss to Holloway — Felder said Zombie’s performance inspired a possible return.
As far as his decision to get back in the USADA testing pool, it’s not a confirmation of another fight happening, but Felder is certainly keeping his options open.
“I did it just in case [I do end up fighting again],” Felder said. “I’m getting old, and there might be some old dudes out there that might want to dust it up in six months. Other than that, I have no idea. I’m enjoying training, I want to help out Michael, I really want to get back in the gym in Philly as well and start getting on the mat with those guys. I’ve truly missed it.
“I’m still doing triathlons, so don’t get it twisted.”