UFC champion Ilia Topuria takes honorary kickoff at Real Madrid’s game vs. Sevilla at the Santiago Bernabeu

Newly crowned UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria got the highest recognition an athlete can get in his adopted home of Spain.

On Sunday, Topuria (15-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) took the honorary kick-off at Real Madrid FC’s game against Sevilla in their home stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid.

Topuria, walking out suited up and with the UFC belt over his shoulder, stepped onto the pitch in a pack stadium that sits 85,000 people and kicked the game’s ball to signal the start of the game.

Below, you can watch Topuria’s honorary kick-off at the Santiago Bernabéu (via X):

Real Madrid is considered by most the biggest and most iconic soccer club in the world. It’s been the home of many soccer legends. They’re also the most successful in soccer history, given they have won 14 UEFA Champions League titles.

Topuria, a self-proclaimed “Madridista,” won the UFC featherweight title earlier this month by knocking out all-time great Alexander Volkanovski in the main event of UFC 298. The undefeated champion is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in MMA, and one of the biggest sporting figures in Spain and Europe.

Although nothing official, the UFC has expressed interest in hosting an event in Spain, given Topuria’s rise. Topuria hopes to defend his 145-pound belt at the Santiago Bernabéu.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie