Benson Henderson has fought for the final time.
The former WEC and UFC champion announced his retirement from mixed martial arts after suffering a first-round submission loss to Usman Nurmagomedov at Bellator 292 this past Friday. ‘Smooth’ was one of eight fighters competing in the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix, which started with two quarterfinal fights: Usman Nurmagomedov vs. Benson Henderson and Tofiq Musayev vs. Alexander Shabliy.
Nurmagomedov vs. Henderson was over in an instant. After flooring Henderson with a head kick, the reigning Bellator lightweight champion followed up with a barrage of punches before getting on his back and securing a rear-naked choke.
Immediately after the loss, Henderson laid his gloves on the canvas.
Congratulations to Benson Henderson on a legendary MMA career! @BellatorMMA @BensonHenderson#Bellator292’s Main Card is LIVE on @Showtime! pic.twitter.com/7MvIWXANgL
— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) March 11, 2023
“To the whole world, thank you guys for all the love [and] all the support throughout my career,” said Henderson in his post-fight interview with ‘Big’ John McCarthy. “These last four fights I signed with Bellator, I told myself that if I lose at all in these last four fights, then it’s about that time. I’ve had a nice, long run. I’ve done a lot of great things and was able to do a lot of amazing accomplishments, and thank you to everybody around the world. Thank you guys for your love and support, I appreciate that.”
Throughout his professional career, Henderson has earned wins over notable names such as Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Jim Miller, Clay Guida, Frankie Edgar and Nate Diaz. The 39-year-old held championships in various promotions such as World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). After his stint with the UFC ended, Henderson headed to Bellator, where he went 7-7 across two weight classes.
Though he retired, Henderson said he would remain involved in the sport, as his wife, Maria, continues with her professional career.
“It is my wife’s turn to shine — her turn to practice three, four times a day and get after it,” said Henderson at his post-fight press conference (video provided by MMA Junkie). “I’ll leave that to her, and I’ll be doing the majority of taking care of the kids. But I’ll still be in the gym, still helping out with my team, and, of course, helping my wife out.”
Henderson leaves the sport with an overall record of 30-12.
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About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)
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