Akihiro Gono retires at 37

Updated: May 5, 2012, 12:46 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

With 18 years and more than 50 pro fights under his belt, veteran mixed martial artist Akihiro Gono retired Friday night.

Gono, 37, made the announcement shortly after being stopped 56 seconds into a nontitle lightweight bout with Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler in Rama, Ontario.

His main-event bout at Bellator 67 was Gono's lone appearance with the promotion. Besides Bellator, he has competed in UFC, Pride, Pancrase and Shooto.

During his career, which began in April 1994, Gono faced many high-caliber fighters such as Dan Henderson, Mauricio Rua, Chael Sonnen, Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch, Hector Lombard and Gegard Mousasi.

Gono, who spent the majority of his MMA career at welterweight, leaves with a professional record of 32-18-7. He exits on a three-fight losing streak.