People still ask when Paul Feld will be back – no one believes a fighter when they say they’ve retired – but this guy has a new opponent and it’s called Ironman.
The 38-year-old former UFC star turned commentator of color, like all sports stars, is eager to compete and improve his performance. Only now has he traded the brutal fighting of the octagon for the brutal fighting of three disciplines – swimming, cycling and running.
The man known as the “Irish Dragon” — who retired with a 17-6 record — fell in love with triathlon early in the pandemic, when, like many, he needed something new to keep him going. Healthy, busy and healthy.
That’s when he happened to come across t-specifically Lionel Sanders’ frantic workout on his popular YouTube channel “No Limits” (more on that to come tomorrow).
In a short time, he was completely hooked, and he started running more and more. He bought a bike and started his triathlon journey.
Now that Feld has spent last month’s race week with Sanders at the IRONMAN 70.3 Oceanside, he’s fully convinced that his goal is to be the best triathlete.
The professional triathlon organization will be documenting his journey in a new documentary series, the first episode of “The Fighting Spirit” is out now.
Felder’s first Tri
He talked about how he felt after his first triathlon – IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge – admitting: “I’ve been through some brutal fist fights and how my body feels after the first fight, I just Want to drink Coca-Cola and water, lie down.
“But that feeling of finishing it, crossing that finish line, feeling that level of competition again – even though most of it is clearly in my own heart – I honestly feel accomplished after that. Sense. I mean I’m disappointed with that period, that’s when things started to evolve into the need to do more.”
At 38, Feld knew he couldn’t be an elite triathlete, though he often wondered how good he might have been had he started earlier. Unsurprisingly, though, he does have very firm goals.
“For me, what’s really important is how well I can do it in such a short amount of time, I have to do it, I just love it. But I want to be at the top of my age group at least, I don’t know it What age it will be, that’s the goal, whether it’s this one or the next one. But at least I’ll be number one in my age group.”
Like we said at the beginning, people never believe a fighter actually retires, but when Feld decided to end his UFC career, he felt the time was right.
“Looking back at my career, I’m happy. I didn’t get where I wanted to be, I wanted to be a champion. But in MMA, there are only a few people who can call themselves a champion.
“I got to No. 6 in the world, I never gave up, I think my style and the way I brought it was kind of a fan favorite. I was always true to myself, I was always there for something more than myself Struggle. I thought it was time to go, I went out and left a little bit. I left on my terms, I wasn’t asked to leave, I wasn’t nudged.
“In fact, now people are even saying: ‘When are you coming back, when are you coming back’. I’m not.”
Feld retired because of the pandemic, which indirectly helped him find triathlon.
“My fight with Dan Hook was in February 2020. Then the world shuts down and there’s nothing, you have to order everything into the house, you’re not going anywhere, and I’m losing it. And changing Big and a little unhealthy. You’re drinking some beer, you’re eating some junk, you’re not exercising.
“So I started running, and by running I started looking for a triathlon type of thing. I ordered a bike and I had it in a closet like my old apartment. So that’s how it started creeping into my life .
“For sure, the thing that really brought my attention to the sport was the man who tripped me up, Lionel Sanders, Mr. No Limits himself.”
Passionate about swimming/cycling/running
Soon, Paul realized that retiring from Octagon was the right thing to do, and his love for triathlon is now very, very real.
“I started thinking about doing triathlon training instead of getting up every morning to fight and fight. I wanted to ride my bike, I wanted to go swimming in the pool.
“It was something new that I wasn’t good at yet, and I wanted to be good at it, and I thought I could be good at it. This obsession and the drive to do it started to outpace my desire to actually get fitter in my MMA sport .”
His debut at Blue Ridge was a baptism of fire as he ignored advice not to start his journey with a 70.3. He finished 22nd in his age group but admitted he “nearly died in the half marathon”.
“I remember that half-marathon in 90-degree heat and humidity. That’s when I finally developed real respect for the sport. I watched the people running from me – 6 minutes Miles, 55. I was like ‘what did I do wrong’.”
From those tough starts, Feld now loves his new pursuit and keeps improving with each game.
This year he will continue his PTO tour, starting this weekend with PTO PRO AM Herbalife Los Angeles, a mixed relay over Olympic distances – 1500m swim, 40km bike and 10km run .
Watching this journey through the lens of the PTO documentary series makes us look forward to even more in 2022. Get your popcorn ready…