There was an old commercial from the 80s that gave rise to the joke “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Poliana Botelho is very much a UFC fighter, but also has the singular distinction of having played one on television.

Before making her Octagon debut against Pearl Gonzalez at UFC 216, Botelho played a small part in the Brazilian telenovela “Força do Querer” as a fighter at a fictional version of UFC 212. In these times of global pandemic programming, the show has begun to resurface in reruns in her native Brazil, bringing a flood of memories back with it.

“It was a different experience,” she recalls via translator. “There were a lot of cameras, you repeat the lines several times. Paolla Oliveira is a well-known actress and was an incredible person,” she recalls of the show’s star.

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Training at UPPER Gym, August 2020 (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

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