UFC 257: Felder excited to call Poirier vs McGregor 2, find possible Khabib challenger

Paul Felder shares his thoughts on the upcoming UFC 257 event ft. Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, his own wish to battle Nate Diaz and more.

Paul Felder is excited to fight, irrespective of who he might get the opportunity to face from the top 10.   -  Getty Images

Former two-division champion Conor McGregor will return to the Octagon after more than a year when he takes on Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 in the Fight Island on Sunday, and fellow lightweight contender Paul Felder is looking forward to calling the fight.

Poirier had lost to McGregor when they squared off at UFC 178 in September 2014. And now, six years later, the two fighters are gearing up for the rematch with lots at stake, especially after lightweight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov's recent ultimatum to UFC president Dana White.

Felder, a member of the UFC 257 commentary team who holds a 17-6 MMA record, feels a dominant win for either star will get them a title shot. He also expects Khabib to make a return to the promotion soon.

In a chat with Sportstar, Felder opened up on his new multi-fight UFC contract, the power struggle in the lightweight division, a possible Nate Diaz encounter, his love for acting and more.  

READ: UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2 - Form guide, head-to-head record and other bouts

Who do you think will win the Poirier-McGregor fight and is the winner likely to get a title shot next?

I can't make any official predictions because I'm calling the fight. But I think it's hard to deny the winner of the main event a title shot. Conor has been the biggest star in MMA, while Poirier has come back from losses and proven time and again that when you knock him down, he gets back up and returns stronger. I think the winner at UFC 257, no matter if it's by submission, knockout, or dominant decision, is going to be next in line.

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Will Khabib find an opponent exciting enough to pull him out of retirement?   -  Getty Images

 

Do you feel Khabib will return to UFC?

If any of these guys (in the lightweight division) do something incredible, it will pique the interest of Khabib. He's already been impressed by Charles Oliveira because of his performance against Tony Ferguson. So, I feel he's going to stick around. He was very emotional after the fight against Justin Gaethje. He'd lost his father and promised his mother that he was going to retire. It's a lot to go through. You need to step away from the sport sometimes. After being here, seeing Max Holloway fight (at UFC Fight Island 7) and entering the Octagon last night, even cornering (his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov), I think Khabib might be itching to return.

What are your thoughts on the co-main event featuring Dan Hooker and Michael Chandler?

If the main event is not spectacular, and maybe Chandler or Hooker do something insane then Khabib might want to take on one of them. We're talking about the top six of the division. If you give them a chance, they are going to put on a good performance. If Chandler goes out there and smokes Hooker, maybe he gets a title shot. If Hooker, coming off a loss to Poirier, can still take out somebody like Chandler impressively, he can get a shot. 

 

Do you think Georges St-Pierre will come back to fight Khabib for the lightweight championship?

I know a lot of people are eager to see GSP making a comeback. He's always training and in shape. But we've been talking about this for a long time and he hasn't made any commitment. I don't see him coming back to UFC, unfortunately.

You've signed a multi-fight contract with UFC after almost retiring. Any idea on your next opponent?

I'm not sure of any specific opponent. But I've got a new deal. The UFC was nice enough to throw out my old contract after I stepped in and took that fight (against Rafael dos Anjos in November 2020) on five days' notice. I think no matter who they give me in the top 10 at this point, it's going to be exciting.

You seemed to be interested in facing Nate Diaz. Is there a chance of that fight happening?

No, that hasn't been offered, and I don't know who he's fighting. The rumour is that Nate wants to come back at 155 (lbs). I know that it's been difficult to pin him down for a matchup. He says he wants to fight and then he doesn't want to fight. I think it's just a matter of getting him to commit and I've thrown my name in the hat along with many others like Hooker and Chandler. I'd love that fight.

How has your commentary stint been so far?

When I got into commentary, I was surprised because I wasn't a former champion. It was all based on the UFC guys noticing how I handled interviews. As an acting major in college, I'd like to use this platform of being an analyst to get back into acting, doing film and television. I stopped acting to pursue fighting because this took off much faster than I expected. I love martial arts and I want to get back into acting after it's all said and done.

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Felder enjoys calling bouts with John Gooden and Dan Hardy.   -  Getty Images

 

Who is your favourite partner when it comes to calling matches?

With my British partners, John Gooden and Dan Hardy, I felt we made a good trio. But last night (at UFC Fight Island 8), I had so much fun with Daniel Cormier. On the post-fight show, I was with Jon Anik and DC and we lost our minds. We were making fun of each other. I feel since we've gotten to know each other so well, that no matter who you pair with, you're going to have a great broadcast team.

UFC 257 ft. Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Dan Hooker and Jessica Eye will be telecast LIVE on January 24, 2021, on SONY TEN 1 and SONY TEN 3 from 8:30 am IST.