UFC champion Benson Henderson to earn Jiu-Jitsu black belt in June

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(L-R) Benson Henderson punches Gilbert Melendez in their lightweight championship bout during the UFC on FOX event during the UFC on FOX event at the HP Pavilion on April 20, 2013 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

First a gold belt, now a black one.

Following a run in the 2013 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships as a brown belt, UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson will earn his Jiu-Jitsu black belt next month, his coach told GRACIEMAG.com on Tuesday.

John Crouch, Henderson’s head coach and Jiu-Jitsu professor at The MMA Lab in Arizona, said the champ will have the black belt given to him on June 3.

Crouch, a black belt under Royce Gracie, said he spoke with the Jiu-Jitsu and UFC legend about promoting Henderson, and was given “his blessing” to award the lightweight champ with a black belt.

Henderson, a brown belt of approximately three years, most recently competed at the 2013 Pans, fighting into the third round of the middleweight bracket where he lost to eventual tournament champion Jaime Soares Canuto.

When asked in March if he would compete at this year’s World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Long Beach, Henderson confirmed he would be present, but didn’t confirm if he would compete. Crouch, however, confirmed today to GRACIEMAG.com that Henderson would not enter the tournament this year due to travel obligations, among other things.

As for his UFC career, Henderson does not currently have a fight signed for his next title defense. But according to recent comments made by UFC President Dana White, a bout between T.J. Grant and Gray Maynard at UFC 160 will likely determine the next No. 1 lightweight contender.

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