Usman Nurmagomedov retains Bellator title; Henderson retires

Khabib Nurmagomedov has retired from fighting and coaching. But the Nurmagomedov family name is in more than good hands in MMA.

Usman Nurmagomedov, Khabib's younger cousin, stopped former UFC champion Benson Henderson via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2 minutes, 37 seconds of the first round Friday night in the main event of Bellator 292 in San Jose, California.

Nurmagomedov made his first successful defense of the Bellator lightweight title. The bout was also a quarterfinal in the Bellator Lightweight World Grand Prix tournament.

Henderson announced his retirement after the bout, leaving his gloves inside the cage.

Nurmagomedov dropped Henderson early with a Brazilian or question mark kick, which looks initially like a kick to the body but then bends at the knee toward the head. Nurmagomedov caught Henderson right on the chin and then took his back on the ground. From there, Nurmagomedov worked for a choke. Henderson fought valiantly but succumbed to the submission.

It was only the second time Henderson has been finished in nine years. He had been choked out only once before in his career, in his third pro fight back in 2007.

Nurmagomedov will advance to the grand prix semifinals against the winner of a May 12 fight between former champ Brent Primus and Mansour Barnaoui. Nurmagomedov said in his postfight interview that it doesn't matter to him whom he faces next.

"I don't care," Nurmagomedov said. "Anybody. I don't choose, I don't pick."

Nurmagomedov (17-0) is now 6-0 in Bellator. He was coming off a title win over Patricky Freire in November. Nurmagomedov, 24, is one of the best young fighters in the world. ESPN had him ranked last year as its No. 1 on its list of top MMA fighters under age 25.

Henderson (30-12) had a two-fight winning streak snapped by Nurmagomedov. The Arizona resident had three consecutive UFC lightweight title defenses in 2012 and 2013, which is tied for the record with BJ Penn, Frankie Edgar and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Henderson, 39, is also a former WEC lightweight champion.

Nicknamed "Smooth," Henderson signed with Bellator as a free agent in 2016 after a win over Jorge Masvidal and went 7-7 in the promotion.