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Paul Felder Announces Retirement from MMA at UFC Fight Night

Blake SchusterContributor IMay 23, 2021

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

UFC lightweight and welterweight mainstay Paul Felder is calling it a career. 

The 37-year-old announced his retirement from mixed martial arts during the broadcast of UFC Fight Night on Saturday. He's been out of the Octagon since two back-to-back losses to Dan Hooker and Rafael dos Anjos in 2020.

"I don't have a burning desire to fight up for many more years and become a champion," Felder said (h/t ESPN's Brett Okamoto). "I always said if I don't see that title picture a year or so into my future, I would retire and I would do it for my friends, family and myself. I'm 37 years old and I feel very fresh. I love the UFC with all my heart for everything they've given me and the opportunity they've given me [to commentate]. I'm retiring officially from the sport of mixed martial arts."

Felder finishes his career 17-6 (10 KOs) and ranked the No. 9 lightweight contender in UFC.

The Philadelphia native never earned a title shot in UFC but earned Performance of the Night three times and Fight of the Night twice. Along the way, he defeated the likes of Stevie Ray, James Vick and Edson Barboza.

A longtime fan favorite, Felder has earned praise for his work as an analyst broadcasting fights for UFC and may be able to stick on the scene in that capacity.

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Okamoto noted Felder apologized to the lightweight division for not announcing his decision sooner and potentially blocking pending fights.

Felder would've likely needed to reel off consecutive victories in order to get a shot at the title—a fate he felt was unlikely and ultimately led to his retirement Saturday.

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