Paul Felder
Paul Felder: The Underappreciated Irish Dragon (Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

Five days ago, the MMA world was anticipating the return of former lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. His return grew even larger when he was matched up with Islam Makhachev, the second-coming of Khabib Nurmagomedov. While RDA’s return is still intriguing, Makhachev pulling out of the fight with an undisclosed injury was the last thing Dana White wanted as the UFC rounds third base to close out 2020. With little time to fill the gaping hole left in tonight’s card, the one and only Paul “The Irish Dragon” Felder has stepped up to the plate. Furthering his place as one of the most underappreciated men in the company.

Originally slated to be on commentary for the UFC Fight Night Main Event, Paul Felder didn’t hesitate when Papa Dana needed him the most. Starting an immediate cut to get to 155 pounds, The Irish Dragon successfully lost 14 pounds in just four days to face one of the most formidable lightweights on the planet. Not only did he make weight, but he was also the first fighter to make an appearance on the scale. Coming in a quarter-pound lighter than RDA was just the cherry on top.

While Felder has developed into a natural color commentator, his fights seem to be up for Fight of the Night every time he steps into the cage. Dana White knew exactly what he was asking for when he approached the man with a degree in acting. The money line will not favor Felder once the cage door closes, but that has had little effect on how Felder approaches his fights. Remember, this isn’t the first time Felder has put his neck out to save an anticipated card from taking a hit. If fans were surprised to see him swell up to 170 pounds to fight Mike Perry on short notice, they shouldn’t be this time around.

The fact of the matter is it’s impossible to not root for this man. While he may never be considered a legitimate contender to take over a division, he will forever have the respect of MMA fans and fighters across the globe. It’s a shame that his father, who passed away in 2017 due to pancreatic cancer, can’t see what he has become. Being one of the primary reasons Felder took this fight, I’m sure he’ll be proud regardless of the result. The Irish Dragon has stated that he has nothing to lose, making this contest a total gem that formulated over the course of five days.

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