Paul Felder’s journey from commentator to headliner at UFC Vegas 14

Sep 7, 2019; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Paul Felder (blue gloves) speaks to the media after fighting Edson Barboza (not pictured) during UFC 242 at The Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday night at UFC Vegas 14, fight fans will see an incredible lightweight matchup in the main event. Although, it is not the lightweight matchup that we thought we were going to see on Saturday night.

Originally, former UFC lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos (29-13), was set to take on Islam Makhachev (18-1). This was supposed to be a big test for the budding UFC star in Makhachev. However, a staff infection caused him to pull out of the fight on Sunday.

Dos Anjos was left without an opponent. He called out Michael Chandler, however, the promotion has other plans for him. The UFC started sending out feelers to see who could and would step in on short notice and fight RDA in the main event.

Turns out, they didn’t have to look very far. They had to just look at the expected commentators for UFC Vegas 14. When they did, they found the seventh ranked contender in the lightweight division, The Irish Dragon Paul Felder (17-5).

Felder had been training for a triathlon so he is in great shape when it comes to his conditioning. Because of his training, his weight is also lower than it normally would be when he’s not in a fight camp. So, Felder decided it was the perfect opportunity to jump in and save the day.

UFC Vegas 14’s Hero

Felder appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA show where he talked about the decision to step up. “I thought about it. I was like, ‘Man you’re still 36, you’re young, you’re in shape. Save the day, let’s go get paid, let’s have some fun. You’re fighting a legend.’ What do I have to lose?” Felder said to Helwani.

After Felder’s last UFC contest back in February, we weren’t sure if we’d see The Irish Dragon again. Felder was in a war with Dan Hooker and lost a split decision. Since then, Felder has been a regular in the booth calling UFC action.

However, it never appeared that Felder was completely out of the game. It just looked like he was waiting for the right opportunity. Well, it turns out that the right opportunity is this Saturday. If he wins, Felder is right back in the conversation to fight a big name at lightweight.