Bellator 292: Benson Henderson retires after submission loss to Usman Nurmagomedov

Photo Courtesy: Bellator MMA

After a first-round submission loss to the current Bellator lightweight champion, Benson Henderson announced his retirement.

The 39-year-old was stopped by 155-pound champion Usman Nurmagomedov by rear-naked choke in the first round of the World Lightweight Grand Prix at Bellator 292.

Henderson informed the audience in San Jose that he would step away from the sport and ends a career that began in 2006.

Henderson debuted in the WEC in 2008 and became its interim lightweight champion the following year when he beat Donald Cerrone by unanimous decision. Henderson beat Jamie Varner in his next fight to become the sole claimant to the championship.

After a first-round submission of Cerrone in a rematch in April 2010, Henderson’s last fight with the promotion occurred in December 2010 with the most famous moments in fight history.

With the fight even going into the final minute, challenger Anthony Pettis leaped off the cage and dropped Henderson with what has been referred to as “The Showtime Kick” and Pettis won the fight by unanimous decision in the final WEC show ever.

Henderson was picked up by the UFC and earned wins against Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, and Clay Guida to earn a UFC title fight in early 2012.

Henderson prevailed against Frankie Edgar in back-to-back fights at UFC 144 and UFC 150 by decision and was the top lightweight in the world. After successful defenses against Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez on Fox, he was set to fight T.J. Grant but a career-ending injury forced Grant off the UFC 164 and replaced by Anthony Pettis.

In the rematch, Pettis submitted Henderson with an armbar and earned his second win against Henderson.

Henderson fought six more times for the UFC including a move up to the welterweight division where he beat Brandon Thatch and Jorge Masvidal in 2015. With his contract ending, he opted to sign with Bellator and debuted for the group in 2016.

He immediately received a welterweight title fight against Andrey Koreshkov and lost by unanimous decision. He moved back to lightweight and would drop a split decision to then-champion Michael Chandler and would wait over six years before another title fight.

After the Chandler loss, he won four of his next five fights before absorbing a three-fight losing streak to Michael Chandler in a rematch, Jason Jackson, and Brent Primus. He rebounded with two wins in 2022 against Islam Mamedov and Peter Queally to earn a spot in the World Lightweight Grand Prix that kicked off on Friday night.

In the other opening round fight of the Grand Prix at Bellator 292, Alexandr Shabily defeated Tofiq Muayev with a body kick at 0:29 of the third round to advance.

The remaining first-round fights will see Mansour Barnaoui take on Brent Primus, and A.J. McKee fighting Patricky “Pitbull” Freire later this year.

Here is the full list of results from Bellator 292 in San Jose:
*World Lightweight Grand Prix: Usman Nurmagomedov © def. Benson Henderson by rear-naked choke at 2:37 of Round 1
*World Lightweight Grand Prix: Alexandr Shabily def. Tofiq Musayev by TKO (body kick) at 0:29 of Round 3
*Linton Vassell def. Valentin Moldavsky by KO at 3:03 of Round 1
*Michael “Venom” Page def. Goiti Yamauchi by TKO (leg kick) at 0:26 of Round 1
*Enrique Barzola def. Erik Perez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
*Josh Hill def. Cass Bell by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
*Khalid Murtazaliev def. Tony Johnson by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov def. Julius Anglickas by unanimous decision (30-27 all)
*Laird Anderson def. Rogelio Luna by technical submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:41 of Round 1
*Theo Haig def. Adam Wamsley by guillotine choke at 3:01 of Round 1  

About John Pollock 5515 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.