Benson Henderson is one of the most popular and successful MMA fighters in the lightweight division, but he’s just announced his retirement from professional MMA after fighting at Bellator 292 on March 11th, 2023. He retires with a 30-12 professional record in the sport and after having held titles in two different major MMA promotions. Henderson won an interim lightweight title at WEC in what was just the eleventh fight of his career, before unifying the belt in his next fight and successfully defending it after that. Although he lost the final fight of his time at WEC after that, he made the move to the UFC with the rest of the roster.
That was when Henderson went on a seven-fight winning streak that involved him capturing and defending the UFC lightweight title. He continued fighting for the promotion for a little over two years after losing the title to Anthony Pettis and even moved to welterweight before signing a contract with Bellator in 2016. He put together a 7-6 record for the promotion before being invited to compete in the lightweight grand prix, which is what led to this most recent fight.
Just a few moments prior to announcing his retirement from MMA at Bellator 292, Benson Henderson was challenging Usman Nurmagomedov for the Bellator lightweight world championship in the opening round of the grand prix. Henderson and Nurmagomedov traded a few shots at the beginning of their fight but a big question mark kick landed early on for the champion. As Henderson fell to the ground, Nurmagomedov leapt on the opportunity and started raining down shots. He then took Henderson’s back and sunk in the rear-naked choke almost immediately. Henderson managed to escape once but his opponent managed to repeat the feat and forced him to tap to the second rear-naked choke attempt.
Now it seems as though he will be passing on the torch in his family, as his wife Maria Henderson has only just started her Bellator career. Although Henderson will not be competing in MMA anymore, he hasn’t announced whether he will also be retiring from grappling competition, as that’s something he’s been involved in pretty often over the last few years. He recently defeated fellow MMA veteran Ben Saunders by decision at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 1 and unsuccessfully challenged the legendary Demian Maia at Polaris 20. With his MMA career coming to an end, it’s possible that grappling fans get to see Henderson in action on the mats more often.
The post-fight interview with Benson Henderson at Bellator 292 where he announced his retirement from professional MMA was uploaded to the official Twitter account of Showtime Sports:
— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) March 11, 2023