In July 2018, Paul Felder defied the laws of physics after his awe-inspiring performance against MikePerry at UFC 226.
“The Irish Dragon” fought through an all-out war with a broken arm as he sustained the injury mid-fight. He was able to stretch the fight down the wire, but his heroic acts came too short after losing in judges scorecards.
It could have been a perfect ending to a fairy tale run for Felder, fighting through an injury, but he lost the bout. However, his Herculean effort was enough to show that he is a real warrior, earning the respect of the whole MMA community.
Six months after, he was at it again – brushing off an injury to finish the fight – and this time, he got the perfect ending he deserved.
Felder escaped James Vick in a hard-fought battle while sustaining a collapsed lung in the process. Following his release from the hospital, the returning lightweight fighter has provided some details about this injury, which he described as ‘scary’ and the ‘most painful.’
— Boxing News Now (@Boxing_NewsNow) February 18, 2019
UFC’s first offering under the ESPN banner provided fireworks last February as the fight card delivered thrilling MMA actions, with the Vicente Luque vs Bryan Barberena brutal slugfest and James Vick vs Paul Felder all-out war bringing in the big lights.
The 33-year old Felder coasted to a unanimous decision win against the now-14th-ranked lightweight fighter after a back-and-forth three-round affair in the co-main event.
But unknown to many, “The Irish Dragon” sustained an injury late in the third frame after absorbing a strike to the rib.
“Paul Felder suffered a collapsed lung in the closing minutes of his fight against James Vick last night, his manager Brian Butler told ESPN. Doctors believe the lung was punctured when he took a shot to the ribs at the end of the third round,” Ariel Helwani reported on Monday.
Felder showed once again that he is a man of steel after shrugging off the injury, en route to winning the fight via unanimous decision. It was not the first time he fought through an injury as he also battled Mike Perry at UFC 226 with a broken arm.
In the wake of the injury, his manager, Brian Butler, provided an update on Felder, saying it has no long term issues, but he stayed in the hospital overnight.
The 33-year old was also pulled out of his duties as colour commentator in the recently-concluded UFC Prague.
Last night, “The Irish Dragon” himself reflected on this experience and confirmed that he was already released from the hospital.
“Taking that big breath before entering the octagon. I will never take breathing for granted again. I’m out of the hospital and feeling good.”
“I have to stay here till Wednesday before safely flying home to Philly. Thanks again to all the people who made this scary situation seem like a walk in the park!” he wrote on Instagram.
In an interview with Luke Thomas at The MMA Hour, Felder went in-depth in detailing his injury, claiming he was aware that his ribs collapsed after a hard knee from his opponent.
“As soon as he hit me, I was like, holy shit, that was a hard knee.
“And I knew it was like 20 seconds left, I was looking at the clock. I thought I was ahead.”
“I was like, ‘Man, just don’t let this dude knock you out, just don’t let this dude knock you out.’ Literally, all I was thinking.”
“I knew I busted my ribs is what I thought. I thought I did some cartilage damage or maybe had like a little fracture.”
“It’s the most pain I’ve been in in a really, really, really long time,” he narrated.
Aside from overcoming injuries, Felder has also overcome four of his last five fights.
And now that he is back at 155-pound, following a loss to Perry at 170, “The Irish Dragon” said he is ready to come for the “big dogs” in the division as he sets his sights on a UFC gold.
“That’s what you’re gonna see more of from me.”
“You’re always gonna see me fight my ass off. You’re gonna see a little more strategic approach now that I’m gonna be up there with the real big dogs in this division.
“But I’m coming for them, I’m telling you that right now. I’m not in this to sit back.”
“I’m in this to make a run for the belt and that’s it. When that’s done, if that doesn’t seem plausible to me anymore, I’m retired.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Brian Butler and Fight Four Yours)