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Paul Felder puts UFC retirement plans on ice: ‘I cannot wait to fight again’

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UFC Fight Night: Open Workouts Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Paul Felder has a bright future as one of the UFC’s most well-spoken and thought-provoking color commentators, but “Irish Dragon” is first looking to play out his own professional combat career.

This may come as a bit of a surprise after Felder hinted at potential retirement following his recent split-decision loss to Dan Hooker at UFC Auckland (highlights HERE), but the lightweight veteran is doubling down on his plans to keep fighting.

Felder, 34, has seemingly rediscovered his passion and need for fighting during his time at home for self quarantine. The lightweight veteran has had the opportunity to review his recent loss, his future prospects, and realize that he needs to get back into the Octagon as soon as possible.

“I can tell you that after all of this with what we’re going through, I cannot wait to fight again,” said Felder during an Instagram live chat with UFC commentary partner Jon Anik earlier this week (h/t MMA Junkie). “Dude, I’m on this bike. I had my manager, Brian Butler, send me all these photos. I texted him last night. I said, ‘Man, I’m a little depressed.’ I’m missing my job. I’m missing my guys. I’m missing my commentary. … We’re having a great time. Family time is great. But I just miss that fire.”

Despite leaning towards retirement just two months ago, Felder has made a complete turnaround while being forced to sit at home. The lightweight veteran simply didn’t realize what he was missing until his future was taken out of his own hands.

“You don’t realize how important that is in your life – especially somebody like myself or anybody like myself who’s an athlete that’s been doing this for so long,” Felder said. “… To just have that stripped away from us, it’s like, (expletive), man. (Expletive), I can’t wait to get back to doing this.”

While Felder may have snapped a five-fight lightweight win streak with his recent loss to Hooker, “Irish Dragon” remains a top seller in the division. Felder not only sports a fan-friendly fighting style capable of producing spectacular performances, but he’s a company man willing to fight when and where he is needed. It won’t be difficult for Felder to get with UFC and book a meaningful matchup later this year.

But before those negotiations take place Felder is willing to wait until the current COVID-19 pandemic passes and UFC opens up its doors for good.

“I’m also realistic,” Felder said. “I’m not one of those people like, ‘We need to just open everything up.’ I don’t want a second wave or any of that stuff. When it does come and I see you guys again, I cannot wait to be like, ‘I will never take this for granted ever again.’ I think that’s something we’re all going to learn from this craziness, if anything.”

What say you, Maniacs? With retirement on hold, who should “Irish Dragon” fight next?

Let’s hear it!