Paul Felder has promised a ‘stand-up war for the fans’ after an intense staredown with Dan Hooker in Auckland.
Tensions were high as the two lightweights came nose to nose during the face-off in which neither fighter wanted to back down.
“I don’t want anyone to say they are going to smash my face without me retaliating,” Paul Felder told Fight News Australia after the faceoff.
Felder is referring to a social media post by Dan Hooker announcing the fight, set to take place at Spark Arena on February 22nd in Auckland.
“I don’t like that shit,” Felder continued.
“For me, I am a respectful fighter but once I’m presented with somebody that wants to be aggressive and take it to me a little bit, I will come right back at you.”
The war of words continued online when Felder posted an image of him slapping Hooker, with The Hangman telling Felder to ‘keep that same energy’ when they come face to face.
Again with the shit jokes. Keep the same energy when we're face to face. https://t.co/7YwJC5GM5Y
— Dan Hangman Hooker (@danthehangman) November 28, 2019
“I would say we both kept that same energy in the face-off,” Felder continued
“Man we were in each other’s face for close to a minute. They kept telling us to face forward and neither of us wanted to take a step back. We both didn’t want to turn away so were just in each other’s grill for I’d say a good 45 seconds just staring at each other.”
The rising intensity is a far cry from when Hooker politely asked Felder to fight him during his post-fight interview this past July.
A number 1 contender fight for the UFC lightweight title could potentially await the winner. With the stakes as high as they are, both fighters are clearly eager to prove why they should be considered a legitimate threat to the title in 2020.
“A win over dan would put me maybe a win away from being next in line,” Felder said.
“There is for sure some intensity there, it’s real now, that’s what I needed to really get some motivation to go out there and get back into training camp when I can back home I am fired up now. It’s going to be a stand-up war and the fans are going to eat it up.”
UFC Auckland will take place at Spark Arena on Sunday, February 23. Other bouts currently scheduled for the event include Tyson Pedro vs. Vinicius Moreira, Jake Matthews vs. Emil Meek and Ben Sosoli vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima.