Paul Felder has called time on his UFC career after announcing his retirement during UFC Vegas 27 at the weekend.
The Irish Dragon departs the sport at the age of 37 and with a record of 23-6.
He never managed to get a lightweight title shot, but he has been highly ranked in the division and has hovered in and around the top five in recent years.
In fact, Felder is the last man to have defeated current lightweight champion, Charles Oliviera.
Down the years, Conor McGregor has taken shots at Felder for using the ‘Irish Dragon’ nickname because, of course, he’s not actually Irish.
Felder is of Irish heritage and ancestry, but McGregor has maintained that the name Felder is German and that made a mini feud between the pair.
Still, the first-ever double champion in UFC history changed his tune to wish Felder well on his retirement.
“Congrats to the “Irish Dragon” Paul Felder on his retirement! Proper Pina Colada on me fella! #Respect @felderpaul”
While the use of the nickname is a nice nod to their funny exchanges, McGregor paid respect to his former divisional rival.
After UFC’s card on Saturday, Felder explained his decision to walk away from fighting, something he very nearly did after fighting Dan Hooker in February 2020.
“I really waited until I knew,” Felder said at the post-fight press conference. “After the [Dan] Hooker fight, it was kind of emotional and I lost the fight and I’m far away from home and it was a struggle. But then I did find that fire again when I got the [Rafael dos Anjos] fight.
“I went back and did camps and I was helping Sean Brady get ready for fights and I was hitting pads, I was lifting again, I was doing all those things and just slowly over time I started drifting back towards doing my own things and really just loving doing this triathlon stuff on my own, having time, seeing my daughter everyday after school, dropping her off at school.
“Training in my own little pain cave at home in the garage and getting stuff done. I don’t think I’m going to get to the belt. I think this is the first time where I finally really think after those two losses in a row, watching guys like ‘Jacare’ [Souza] break their arm, watching guys like ‘Cowboy’ [Cerrone] fight five more fights than I think they should.
“I’m not going to be that guy. I’ve said from the very beginning of this sport, I won’t be that guy that fights past his expiration date and I think it’s here. I think it’s a touch early but I’d rather it be a touch early than a touch late.”
UFC president Dana White was full of praise for Felder, too, and says he will obviously remain on the commentary team in the company.
“Yeah he’s had an incredible career here and now he’s starting, well I shouldn’t say starting. But, he really is starting his new career after fighting,” White said post-fight (via MMA Mania).
“He’s a great commentator. He’s done an amazing job here and I am happy for him.
“Congrats on what he has done for us in the past and I look forward to working with him in the future.”