Paul Felder keen to fight Michael Chandler if offered

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ABU DHABI – Paul Felder walks a tightrope between “active” and “retired”.Time and time again, Felder (17-5 MMA, 9-5 UFC) has said he’s ready to keep fighting – but it has to be against a worthy opponent.

On Tuesday, Felder revealed that a new name has been added to his shortlist. A fight against former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler is a name Felder would jump at the chance to reserve.

“There are only a few names that I would even be interested in returning to combat,” Felder said during a media session with reporters. “These are the best guys: Hooker, Ferguson, obviously Michael Chandler is going to come here to ‘Fight Island’ to be a replacement. Hope that doesn’t happen, right? I think we can all agree that we don’t want this to happen. It’s good that he’s in place. God forbids anything to happen. But it’s a fight I would love to come back to in December or early next year.

Felder said that as soon as rumors of Chandler’s signing with the UFC surfaced, he let the promotion know it was a fight he wanted. For now, the UFC has not offered him this opportunity.

“I would have at least asked when the date was and talked to the team and imagined a training camp potentially,” Felder said. “I let it be known that it was a fight that would interest me. I even texted Dana White when he was first speaking to Chandler, saying, ‘Hey, if you need someone to introduce him to the big show, I’m interested.’ I have no disrespect for Chandler. I think he’s a great athlete.

In general, Felder would like to see the UFC sign more fighters like Chandler (21-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Champions from other big organizations, who are ready to take the leap, will only improve the UFC’s roster, Felder said.

“I’m really excited it’s over because that ‘what ifs’s always been there,” Chandler said. “I’m happy that the UFC is doing that and being more interested and kind of reaching out to these other champions and bringing them on. It’s having better guys. Who cares where they come from? If they’re good, they’re good. Let them take on the best players in the world.

Felder, 35, hasn’t fought since a main event in February against Dan Hooker, whom he lost by split decision to claim a two-game winning streak.

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