LAS VEGAS – Paul Felder gave an inch to the idea of another UFC fight – and the universe is taking a mile.
When Felder (17-6 MMA, 9-6 UFC) reentered the promotion’s anti-doping test pool, Jim Miller (37-17 MMA, 26-16 UFC) was on his mind. After Miller’s submission win and post-fight callout Saturday at UFC Fight Night 234, Felder has all but committed to fighting once more, at UFC 300.
“When I saw ‘Korean Zombie’ (Chan Sung Jung) have that walkout and I got inspired to potentially get back into the pool and do all this sort of stuff, anybody who knows me or talked to me, you knew Jim was the name,” Felder told MMA Junkie and other reporters at a news conference Saturday. “I was like, ‘If I’m going to do it, I want it to be against a guy like Jim, somebody around my age, who’s been in the game for a long time.’ I’m not trying to come back and make a run for the belt or anything like that.”
Felder did not utter the words “I’m coming back” when he spoke Saturday at the UFC Apex, but his smile and tone couldn’t hide his attraction to the idea of “one more.”
Although he hasn’t fought since November 2020, Felder said he’s in the best shape of his life while he partakes in triathlon training. At this point, the decision really comes down to how he feels in the MMA gym in the coming days.
“When we talked to Jim in the fighter meetings, obviously, the people around me are kind of egging it on and pushing me,” Felder said. “I was like, ‘If you call me out, Jim, it’s something I’d be interested in doing.’ He’s like, ‘If you get me a job sitting next to you on the desk, we’ll make it a deal.’ I think they’ll be calling him for at least an audition coming up soon. When he said that, it’s like, f*ck, now he’s setting me up with all the things I said, ‘If he does this, if this happens, then I’d be interested in doing it.’ I’ve just got to get back in the gym and see how things feel.”
If he’s going to do it, Felder wants to make sure he’s all in. But as a fighter who yearns for a proper retirement sendoff, Felder is hard pressed to visualize a better final fight scenario than a bout vs. Miller at UFC 300.
“That’s why it’s so tough and so tempting and I’m leaning toward wanting to do it,” Felder said. “Because it’s Jim – as he wants to be called at UFC 300, ‘Jim F*cking Miller.’ He’s awesome. He fights awesome – especially I get to see that fight right in front of my eyes. It’s a leg kick battle. It’s a standup battle, primarily. Obviously, he finished (Benitez) on the ground, as Jim can do. But if it’s going to be a fight like that, I think the fans are going to eat it up – because I’m not shooting any takedowns in there, especially against Jim. I’m not putting my neck out on the line like that. It would definitely be a fun fight. It would probably be the first fight of the freaking night, to be honest with you, the way these cards stack up.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 234.