Three-time British champion David Henderson has been awarded his IFBB Elite Pro Card, it was announced today.
The UKBFF applied to the IFBB headquarters in Madrid for David's pro card after he narrowly missed out on the overall title at last year's UKBFF British Championships.
And he got his reward in recognition of winning three times in Nottingham and excelling in other top events over a number of years.
David, who first stepped on stage as a beginner in 2012, took the British intermediate under 80 kg title in 2013.
In 2016 he won the British open under 80 kg class – a feat he repeated last year.
David also finished fifth at the Arnold Classic Europe last year and is a former Northern Ireland and English Grand Prix champion.
The IFBB Elite Pro division awarded more than $1m in prize money in its inaugural year in 2018.
David, from Coleraine, becomes the first Northern Ireland competitor to be awarded an IFBB Elite Pro card.
He could also become the first UK athlete to compete in the IFBB Elite Pro bodybuilding classes, depending on when he gets on stage.
“All the years of real hard work and consistency have paid off, and becoming professional is every bodybuilder's dream,” said David.
“I plan to make my pro debut in September or October and then hopefully do the IFBB Elite Pro World Championships in November in the under 90kg class.”
The IFBB Elite Pro division offers a route to the end of year IFBB Pro World Championships.
The action gets underway in Europe in April with the €26,000 IFBB Elite Pro Nafplio in Greece, the $18,000 Elite Pro France and the €15,000 Elite Pro Malta on successive weekends.