Paul Felder Would ‘Absolutely Love’ To Fight Nate Diaz In Lightweight Return

Mandatory Credit: Zuffa LLC & Steven Ryan

Lightweight division mainstay, Paul ‘The Irish Dragon’ Felder has yet to be contacted about a potential outing against fan favourite, Nate Diaz who is slated for an Octagon return at lightweight this year. And whilst fans clamour to see the two matched together, Felder has no knowledge of a potential offer, but detailed how he’d “absolutely love” to share the Octagon with the Stockton native.

Replacing a staph ridden Islam Makhachev on short-notice at UFC Vegas 14 in November, moving from the commentary booth to the Octagon — the Philidelphia favourite made the 155-pound limit in a five-round main event, tackling former lightweight best, Rafael dos Anjos. Despite dropping a split decision defeat to the Niterol native, Felder retained his #8 rank at 155-pounds, and received major plaudits for stepping in and saving a card which was close to being shelved. 

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Yet to be booked since, Felder is currently back on ‘Fight Island’ set to serve in the commentary booth for UFC Fight Island 7 and 8, as well as the January 23 UFC 257 pay-per-view event — headlined by fellow lightweights, Dustin ‘The Diamond’ Poirier, and ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor.

Announcing plans for a return to lightweight for Diaz yesterday, promotional leader, Dana White claimed the upcoming fight, if booked, would present an interesting opportunity for Diaz, as well as his so far nameless foe, with former interim champion, Tony ‘El Cucuy’ Ferguson also ruled from contention for the fight.

We’re working on a Nate Diaz fight, right now,” White said during a recent interview with The Mac Life reporter, Oscar Willis. “And it is — it’s not, Tony (Ferguson), but if we get it (the fight) done, I think you’re gonna like it. Lightweight — fifty-five (155-pounds),” White replied when asked if Diaz would return at welterweight or lightweight. 

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Speaking during a media day this afternoon ahead of this weekend’s UFC Fight Island 7 card, Felder claimed that he has no knowledge of a potential pairing with Diaz, however, expressed his interest in welcoming the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt back to 155-pounds.

“”I’ve had so many people tagging me (on social media) saying, ‘UFC in the works: Paul Felder vs. Nate Diaz,” Felder said during a media scrum. “I’m like, ‘When are they (the UFC) going to call me and tell me about that?’ You want to talk about motivated and getting excited? I would absolutely love that fight (against Diaz).

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Echoing recent calls from UFC 257 co-headliner and previous opposition, Dan ‘The Hangman’ Hooker, Felder claimed he’d fight Diaz as high as the middleweight and light heavyweight limit, before calling the latter a legend of the sport.

Like (Dan) Hooker even said, I would fight him at ’85 (185-pounds), at 205 (-pounds) — it doesn’t matter. That’s a fight you take. Nate’s (Diaz) a legend at this point. I would love that fight. But now, it’s not me. I wish it was me.” (H/T MMA Junkie)

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.