UFC lightweight contender Paul Felder has explained why he chose to accept a fight with former 155lb champion Rafael Dos Anjos on just five days’ notice.

The upcoming UFC Vegas 14 fight card was in tatters on Sunday after Islam Makhachev announced he was unable to compete in his scheduled fight against ‘RDA’ due to a staph infection.

In steps Felder to take on a five-round main event slot with next to no notice. Speaking to ESPN, ‘The Irish Dragon’ explained why he decided to take this opportunity, he said.

“I thought about it and I decided with everything going on in the world and all the sad things going on in people’s lives and losing their jobs and suffering and we just lost Alex freaking Trebek to pancreatic cancer, I was like, ‘Man, you know you’re still 36. You’re young. You’re in shape. Save the date. Let’s go get paid. Let’s have fun. You’re fighting a legend,’” Felder said. “What do I have to lose?”

The UFC Vegas 14 main event will remain a lightweight match-up. Felder despite being one of the bigger 155lbs fighters says he is close to his competition weight due to the fact he is currently training for a triathlon.

“I think he really wants to be fighting the top guys at 155 to make his comeback and give himself a chance,” Felder said. “That was one of the stipulations. Obviously, we talked about catchweights, but I know with main events, if possible, they like to keep it at the weight class. That was one of the things, ‘Do you think you can make it?’ It’s not going to be fun, but I’m going to make it.”

The 36-year-old believes he is in a no-lose situation and is excited to test himself over 25 minutes against one of the very best lightweights ever.

“I like five-round fights,” Felder said. “If you’re going to do a main event, I want to do it right. That’s what he’s been scheduled to do. So yeah, five rounds. I’m excited to do another five rounds, especially with somebody like RDA. This is an experiment. We’re going to see. My brain is fresh, my body is fresh. I’m not taking beatings in sparring like I normally do, but I’m still staying technically sharp and staying very fit, so we’ll see.

“I know I’m nearing the end of my career soon. This, I think, it’s win-win for me because if I go in there and I can finish and beat RDA, a former champ, then it gives me a lot of selling points to be getting these bigger fights which seem to have been eluding me at the top five of the lightweight division here in the UFC. How do you not give me something big after this if I go in there after stepping up? And, if it doesn’t go my way, then I saved the day. I’m going in there to try to win, so we’ll see.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)

Do you think Paul Felder will beat Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 14?

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A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.