Confirming weeks of rumours, DEEP Women’s Lightweight (106-Pound) Champion Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto announced her abrupt retirement tonight at DEEP: “46th Impact” at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. The pound-for-pound phenom did not provide a reason for her sudden departure from the sport, but stated plans to engage in one final exhibition match.
Sources have indicated to MMARising.com that Matsumoto’s retirement may have come as a result of domestic or personal issues, thought to be quite serious in nature, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Matsumoto (23-4-0) has quickly developed into one of the top female stars in mixed martial arts over the course of the past three years. She has won 12 straight fights and, more impressively, has avenged all four of her career losses. Matsumoto captured the DEEP title with a 2007 decision win over knockout queen Hisae Watanabe at DEEP: “31st Impact.” She had recently expressed a desire to challenge undefeated superstar Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii (19-0-0), but the fight now seems unlikely.
While it is not uncommon for prominent female fighters to retire from mixed martial arts in order to focus on family life – as Jennifer Howe, Laura D’Auguste and the aforementioned Watanabe have done in the past – what was initially thought to be a minor relationship issue is now believed to be more serious. Matsumoto had given no indication that she was planning to leave the sport until late January and her sudden departure comes as a surprise. Those in attendance were shocked by her announcement.
Veteran female fighters such as Megumi Yabushita and Yoko Takahashi have reportedly reached out to Matsumoto in recent weeks, but even Matsumoto’s closest friends remain at a loss for why she has chosen to leave the sport at a time when many feel that she is one of the top three pound-for-pound female fighters in the world. Regardless, the women’s division of mixed martial arts will suffer a serious loss with Matsumoto no longer actively competing.
Matsumoto turns 29 years old in June and still has many competitive years ahead of her should she choose to return to the sport at a later date. Former foe Hisae Watanabe recently returned to MMA in an exhibition bout after a two-year absence and is expected to make her return to professional action in the coming months.
Matsumoto will be sorely missed and it can only be hoped that her decision to walk away from mixed martial arts proves to be for the best.
(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)