Steven Ray has been in limbo ever since he gambled with free agency ahead of his fight at UFC Fight Night 113 in Glasgow against Paul Felder.
“The Irish Dragon” claimed a first-round win over the Scot and since the loss Ray has not been offered another contract by the UFC.
In a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, “Braveheart” claimed that he would consider retirement if the promotion did not offer him a new contract.
According to Felder, his former foe deserves another shot with the world’s flagship MMA promotion.
“100 percent he deserves to be in the UFC,” Felder told MMA Fighting.
“That was one of those fights where it just worked out for me. It went my way that night. Going into that fight I had prepared for three hard rounds with Stevie. I really expected it to be a war, but he got caught. This happens all the time in the fight game – he knows that. If you get hit with a knee you’re going to get in some trouble.
“He took a gamble and I think the UFC is just kind of letting him know that. I really find it hard to believe that they wouldn’t be interested in a guy that’s 5-2 under the banner. He’s got a million fights on his record, he’s got some big wins and he’s got a huge fan base over in Scotland.
“I don’t see how they don’t bring him back. The UFC has got so many shows right now and the matchmakers are so busy, I just think it’s a matter of time before he gets another chance.”
Felder revealed that he reached out to Ray when he discovered that he still hadn’t been offered a new deal. He also thinks UFC should book Ray versus Diego Sanchez – a fight the Scot has recently called for on Twitter.
“Every time I see him post I’m like, ‘Man, they still haven’t give this guy a contract?’
“I was talking to him. I sent him a few messages one of the days. I was feeling for him and I genuinely think he deserves another opportunity. We went back and forth for a bit,” he said.
“Going into that fight with Stevie I had nothing but respect for him. That hasn’t changed. I really hope I see him back in the division soon. I think there are a lot of fights he can win. I really like the idea of the Diego Sanchez fight. Both guys are coming off losses and I think it would be a really action packed fight.”
Felder described his feelings on account of his victory leading to Ray’s current inactivity.
“It sucks. I go in there to win. I don’t go in there with the intention of slowing a guy’s career down and stopping him providing for his family. I know he’s got a wife and a few kids and I really don’t want to put anybody out,” Felder said.
“When I saw he hadn’t been signed after a while, I was really bummed out. I don’t feel bad for myself for what I had to do, but I do feel bad for the other fighter because if that was me I’d be feeling exactly the same way he is. I completely understand his panic at the moment.”