LOS ANGELES — Brazilian UFC fighter Cris “Cyborg” Justino became a U.S. citizen during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday.
The 31-year-old from Curitiba, Brazil, was among thousands who took the oath of citizenship at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Justino, who said she added Cyborg as a middle name on her naturalization papers, said coming to the United States has changed her life.
“The first time I went to America, I had the opportunity to fight here and people really appreciate my work and appreciate my sport,” she said, while lining up with 2,300 citizenship applicants for the day’s first ceremony.
“It’s an opportunity for me (to) give back for the American community what they give to me. I can vote. I can participate more,” she said.
Justino came to the United States on a visa for competitive athletes in 2008 and later applied for a green card, said Richard M. Wilner, her immigration attorney.
She applied to naturalize in December 2015.
Wilner said becoming a citizen was a personal decision for Justino and will not affect her work in the sport.
The veteran fighter is 17-1 since her 2005 debut and has won titles in the Strikeforce and Invicta promotions. She signed with the UFC earlier this year and lives in Huntington Beach.
Including a second ceremony scheduled for the afternoon, some 4,000 people from more than 120 countries were being naturalized Tuesday.