Former UFC middleweight champion and MMA legend Anderson “Spider” Silva has become a US citizen.
Silva took part in a mass naturalization ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center on July 23 with nearly 8,000 other new Americans.
Silva is a Brazil native born in Sao Paolo and raised in Curitiba. The 44-year-old has lived in Los Angeles for 10 years.
“I feel very happy. You know, it’s a great moment for me and my family,” Silva said.
Silva’s children Kalyl, 20, and Kaory, 23, took the oath of citizenship alongside their father. Silva’s wife, Dayane, is still going through the naturalization process along with his three other children Joao, 14, Kauana, 18, and Gabriel, 22.
“I have my family in Brazil. I have my mom and my brothers in Brazil. But I think this is my country now,” Silva said.
Silva is one of the most dominant fighters in MMA history and was the most feared fighter in the sport in his prime. His reign as the UFC middleweight champion is the longest in history, with 16 victories from 2006 to 2013.
“The Spider” boasts a record of 34-10 and is currently 15th in the UFC middleweight rankings.