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Paul Felder: From Acting to UFC - Name in Marquees

It was late summer 2009, and Paul Felder was at a party with his theater friends. Felder had graduated from Philadelphia's University of the Arts the previous year, and he was revealing his new passion in life.

It wasn't what they were expecting.

"They were like, 'Wow, that was insane. That was so cool that you did that,'" Felder recalled.

Felder had competed in -- and won -- his first amateur MMA fight a few weeks prior.

His friends likely viewed it as a novelty, something he wanted to try once while continuing his pursuit of an acting career.

But they didn't know.

"I was like, 'I've gotta do it again,'" Felder said.

"'What the f--- are you talking about?" was among the responses. "There's gonna be plays. You're gonna have auditions."

"I was like, 'I have to do that again,'" Felder said.

If an actor's dream is to have his name on a marquee, then Felder's success story will be complete Saturday, when he headlines a UFC card for the first time -- opposite Dan Hooker -- in Auckland, New Zealand. UFC Fight Night: Felder vs. Hooker isn't an actor's typical "name in lights" moment, but Felder's journey to a main event has been anything but conventional.


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