ABU DHABI – Paul Felder is looking forward to getting behind the mic for the first UFC pay-per-view event of 2021, even though one of the main event combatants has taken pot-shots at him in the past.
Felder’s role as fight analyst at UFC 257 will see him cross paths with Conor McGregor, who has taken issue with the Philadelphia native’s fighting moniker, “The Irish Dragon,” on social media in the past.
Chatting to reporters, including MMA Junkie, during a media session on “UFC Fight Island,” Felder said he hoped the jibes won’t return when he and McGregor cross paths during their respective fight week obligations.
“I was talking to my producer,” he said. “We’re going to have to do fighter meetings, and hopefully we can get through that without any German comments.”
When quizzed about how it all started, Felder shrugged, grinned, and recounted a story he admitted he takes no enjoyment from telling.
“My last name is German, right? My dad’s side … I hate talking about this!” he laughed. “I know I’m not Irish. I’m not German. I’m not Italian. I’m not Swedish. I’m American. I get that.
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“I also did not give myself ‘The Irish Dragon’ nickname. As a matter of fact, I fought against it for the first few fights of my pro career, because I freaking hated it. I thought it was stupid. It got put together because I did karate (and) Lyoto Machida was one of my favorite fighters – ‘The Dragon’ – and then this guy was like, ‘You’re Irish – The Irish Dragon,’ and he started saying it on a YouTube video. CFFC got a hold of it when I was fighting for them. They just called me that for one fight, and it stuck. So I’m not trying to claim any heritage and this and that. Obviously, I’m of Irish descent. You can take one look at me.”
Felder’s been happy to just go with the flow and accept his given nickname, but when McGregor took aim at him on social media for his fighting moniker, Felder said he actually understood why, though he insisted he’s not changing his label anytime soon.
“He’s poked fun at me on social media and then deletes them,” Felder said. “I think he’s just (expletive) with me, to be honest, you know? He’s like that. He’s not an idiot. He’ll poke at anybody in case … you climb the ranks, and you’re next. He’s like that.
“I know why (McGregor called me out) because I’m calling myself ‘The Irish Dragon’ and he’s like, ‘Well, your last name is German, so what the hell are you talking about?’ So if I ever had to fight him, maybe I’d come out as ‘The German Dragon’ for that one. But it’s all good, and I don’t think that’s going to come up in fighter meetings, but we shall see.”