Helio Soneca promotes UFC’s Alan Belcher to Black Belt.

While UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher (17-6 MMA, 8-4 UFC) generally enters the cage sporting a pair of Muay Thai trunks, he’s also registered four submission wins in the octagon.

And now, he’s a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.

Belcher, who began training in the grappling art at just 14 years old, was recently granted the rank of black belt by his longtime instructor, Helio Soneca.

"It’s an honor to earn a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a martial art I’ve trained in for nearly half of my life," Belcher stated. "It is made much more special by the fact that I am included such a limited number of Mississippi residents, as well as the first in the Gulf Coast region, to earn the black belt."

Belcher’s past two wins, over Canadians Jason MacDonald and Patrick Cote, have each come via submission. Of course, the win over MacDonald was actually due to "The Athlete" verbally tapping due to strikes, but it was a submission, nonetheless.

Perhaps more importantly, the MacDonald win was Belcher’s first fight in more than 16 months due to his recovery from a detached retina. The injury threatened to end the 27-year-old’s career, but he has since returned to complete form.

Belcher’s next octagon appearance has yet to be announced


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