Mackenzie Dern is one of the most intriguing prospects to arrive in the UFC in quite some time.
Dern is two-time black belt world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and daughter of BJJ legend Wellington “Megaton” Dias; the 24-year-old will make her promotional debut against fellow strawweight Ashley Yoder in the main event of UFC 222 at the FS1 portion of the Las Vegas card.
Since her professional MMA career began a mere two years ago, Dern has maintained an impressive five-fight win streak, proving that she is not just another name on the long list of decorated grappler unable to transition successfully into MMA.
Mackenzie Dern, who’s been branded by many as the next Ronda Rousey? Moreover, she handed the colossal Gabi Garcia her first loss in seven years. Ronda Rousey was unstoppable during her initial run through Strikeforce and UFC.
Dern on being compared to Ronda Rousey, said she is looking to make her own path and wants to be better.
”For sure it’s flattering that when they see me they remember her, that they can see me as her when she was fighting and everything,” Dern told TMZ Sports. “But, at the same time, to be another Ronda Rousey, it’s like for sure she’s done so much for the sport, and me like personally I hope I can do at least as much if not more for women’s MMA that she’s done, that’s a big inspiration.”
”But we are two different people, different personalities, different histories, different obstacles we were facing, when she came into the UFC and now that I’m in the UFC. So I think the biggest thing is it’s a new era, you know? A new generation. So I think it’s nice that people think that, but man, I’m not like the next Ronda Rousey. I’m the new Mackenzie!”
Dern picked up a third-round submission win over former Invicta title challenger Kaline Medeiros in December. The victory earned Dern an immediate call-up to the big show.
Her fight with Yoder at UFC 222 is the first step in a grand plan that ends with a UFC title belt strapped to her waist. But that success won’t come without sacrifice.
”I came in here to be the best MMA fighter possible,” she finished. “So if I can be like known in the future for being an all around good MMA fighter and not just at jiu-jitsu, I’ll be like, ‘Mission accomplished!’”