Former UFC champ Benson Henderson retires after Bellator 292 loss

Benson Henderson called it a career.

It took Usman Nurmagomedov (17-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) 2:37 to finish Henderson (30-12 MMA, 7-7 BMMA) and defend his Bellator Lightweight Championship at Bellator 292.

In the main event of Friday’s event at the SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., Nurmagomedov submitted Henderson with a rear-end choke after a question mark kick floored the former UFC champion in the opening seconds.

Henderson recovered from the initial knockdown, although he was continually punished with follow-up punches. Nurmagomedov moved to the back and worked for a submission. Initially, Henderson defended but after racing towards the cage, Nurmagomedov used his punches, found a grip on the neck, squeezed and got the tap.

After the fight, Henderson announced his retirement inside the cage in an interview with analyst John McCarthy. Henderson, who had two fights left on his Bellator contract, said he told himself before signing the deal that if he lost he would quit. On Friday, he delivered on that promise and will now focus on his wife, Maria, as she embarks full throttle on her own MMA journey.

β€œI had a nice long run,” Henderson said. β€œI’ve done a lot of great things. I was able to make a lot of achievements. Thanks to everyone in the world. Thanks guys for your love and support. I appreciate that.

Henderson, 39, ends with a lengthy summary of high-profile accolades. He is a former UFC lightweight champion and a former WEC lightweight champion. Victories include Frankie Edgar, Josh Thomson, Nate Diaz, Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Donald Cerrone and Patricio Freire.

With the win in a bout that served as the Grand Prix quarter-final, Nurmagomedov advances to the semi-final against the winner of a Bellator 295 bout between Mansour Barnaoui and Brent Primus in May.

Updated Bellator 292 results include:

  • Usman Nurmagomedov defeated. Benson Henderson via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 2:37
  • Alexandre Shabli defeated. Tofiq Musayev via TKO – Round 3, 0:29
  • Linton Vassell beats. Valentin Moldavsky via knockout (floor and pound) – Round 1, 3:03
  • Michael Page beats. Goiti Yamauchi via KO (leg kick) – Round 1, 0:26.
  • Enrique Barzola defeats. Erik Perez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Josh Hill beats. Cass Bell via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Khalid Murtazaliev defeated. Tony Johnson by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Dovletdjan Yagshimuradov defeated. Julius Anglickas via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Laird Anderson beats. Rogelio Luna via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 2;41.
  • Theo Haig defeated. Adam Wamsley via submission (guillotine choke) Round 1, 3:01.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s Event Center for Bellator 292.

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