The rematch between Paul Felder and Edson Barboza was considered by many to be the fight to watch in Abu Dhabi and while the fight delivered, the judges’ decision left a sour taste in the mouths of Barboza and his team.
The lightweight contenders first met back in 2015 when Felder was just starting his UFC career and put on a close fight, but the Brazilian did enough on that night to edge out a unanimous decision victory. The rematch earlier this month was a much closer contest and Felder walked away with a split decision win. A clearly frustrated Barboza immediately exited the Octagon after Bruce Buffer read out the decision.
Barboza and his team have stated their wish to appeal the loss, which has left “The Irish Dragon” frustrated, as he thought he was on good terms with the Brazilian (via MMAFighting.com):
“I know he’s upset and I know that he has not had the best winning record lately, so I feel for him, I feel for his family and I know how much the money means to him,” Felder said. “I know his wife even came out and said something like, ‘I have all these other opportunities, why can’t I go take them?’ With emotions and financial stuff, when you think you won the fight… we both thought we won that fight so I get it.
“Is it upsetting me, did it leave a bad taste in my mouth that these guys who I thought I was really cool with are basically saying that it was robbery? That’s what’s upsetting me most. If you just admitted that it was razor close and you felt you should’ve got the nod…yeah the judges are all over the place…but two of them scored it for me, not you. It sucks, I’ve been on the end of other split decisions, I’ve lost two split decisions in the UFC, so going into that decision I was nervous as hell. Look at his face, so was he. I know his guys were confident and they were yelling, ‘You’ve got this,’ but so was Duke [Roufus].
“We were all just trying to stay positive out there to keep guys from losing their minds in those situations. There is so much tension when you’re awaiting decisions, especially after a war like that. We beat the crap out of each other, I think that’s what upsets me most out of all of it: I just had this epic rematch with Edson Barboza -- the No. 7 guy versus the No. 10 guy -- and we go at it and it should’ve been Fight of the Night… we put on an even better battle than we did the first time and what are we all talking about? [We’re] arguing back and forth over who should’ve won and that’s really unfortunate.”
Felder said to make matters worse he feels disrespected by Barboza and said the Brazilian’s fan base has been targeting him.
“Yeah I kind of do [feel disrespected], I’ll be honest with you. I can’t sit here and say that I don’t feel slighted in some way. So much of my social media…I should be talking about this win and being seventh in the world, instead I’ve got his fans trying to trash me.”
The 35-year-old added that he’s open to a trilogy fight against Barboza but first wants a higher ranked opponent next in his goal to become the champion:
“At the end of the day, [a trilogy fight] is a possibility. Does that mean I want to do it right away, no. I’m No. 7 in the world right now and there are some guys ahead of me that I’m itching to face that are scheduled to fight.”