Kikuyo Ishikawa Announces Retirement From Mixed Martial ArtsFormer Jewels title contender Kikuyo Ishikawa has officially retired from mixed martial arts competition. The 29-year-old Okinawan announced on Monday that she is married and expecting her first child, and confirmed that she will be moving on from MMA to pursue the next chapter in her life.

Ishikawa made history in 2008 as the first professional female MMA fighter from Okinawa, Japan. She relocated to Yokohama to further her training and soon went on to become one of the top female atomweight fighters in the world. She leaves the sport having won seven of her past nine bouts.

Ishikawa (9-4-0) made her pro debut on the inaugural Jewels card on November 16, 2008, and went on to advance to the final round of the promotion’s 48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix tournament the following year despite having limited MMA training. Following an upset loss to Miyoko Kusaka in her next bout, Ishikawa moved to Yokohama and her skills began to develop at a rapid rate as a result of new training opportunities at Reversal Gym Yokohama Ground Slam. On December 17, 2010, Ishikawa defeated Yukiko Seki to become the 2010 Jewels 48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Champion.

Following the Rough Stone tournament win, Ishikawa had her greatest success in 2011. She began the year with key victories over Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto and former Valkyrie champion Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada to advance on in the inaugural Jewels Featherweight Queen Championship tournament. Her title hopes were dashed, however, when she was narrowly outpointed by Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama in the semi-final round.

Ishikawa rebounded from the close loss by racking up three straight victories and she avenged her loss to Kusaka in a brief rematch this past April. In her final pro fight, Ishikawa succumbed to a third-round armbar from rising star Amber “The Bully” Brown at Pancrase 250 on July 28th. She sat out for the remainder of the year before announcing her retirement earlier this week.

Though she established herself as one of MMA’s premier female atomweights in Japan, Ishikawa never fought outside of her home country. She was originally set to face “South Valley’s Own” Angelica Chavez at Invicta FC 2 in July 2012, but withdrew from the card due to reservations about her readiness for the fight. Ishikawa had expected to factor in to the Deep Jewels Featherweight Championship title picture next year, but her departure will instead leave room for new challengers to take a shot at capturing the belt from champion Seo Hee Ham.

Once a top-three fighter at 105 pounds, Ishikawa officially leaves the sport as the number six-ranked female atomweight in the world.



(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)