Anderson Silva was born April 14, 1975, a middle child of four. The son of a poverty-stricken family, Silva spent the majority of his childhood with his aunt and uncle, an officer with the Curitiba police force.

Silva first began training jiu-jitsu with neighbourhood kids who could afford lessons. He explained his introduction to martial arts in an interview with FIGHT! Magazine: “When I started out, Jiu-Jitsu was really an elite thing in Brazil, and there was some prejudice towards poorer kids, so I had to learn things on my own... Some of my neighbours started doing Jiu-Jitsu, so I started watching it, and then started rolling with them. It wasn’t organized training, but it was better than nothing.” By the age of twelve his family was able to set aside enough money to start him in Tae Kwon Do lessons, from which he moved on to Capoeira, before finally settling on Muay Thai at the age of sixteen.

Before he began his career as a professional fighter, Silva worked at McDonalds, and also as a file clerk. He considers Spider-Man a personal hero, and has a stated love of comic books and comic book heroes.