It’s been less than two years since strawweight Mackenzie Dern made her professional mixed martial arts debut. In 21 months, the 24-year-old Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt has put together an unblemished 5-0 record with three submissions.
Dern makes her UFC debut Saturday night in Las Vegas in the featured bout of the FS1 prelims right before UFC 222 goes down live on Pay Per View. Dern’s skillset, grappling accomplishment and popularity on social media has created tons of excitement around her first fight, which is against two-fight UFC veteran and Ultimate Fighter alum Ashley Yoder.
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“I was able to accomplish all my goals in jiu jitsu,” Dern told FOX Sports in an interview that aired on UFC Tonight. “I'm not just in MMA to be just one more fighter. I wanted to go to MMA and take my jiu jitsu with me and see if that can take me to be the best MMA fighter.”
The attention doesn’t seem to be bothering Dern. She’s been expected to take the UFC by storm for years and now is ready to see how much noise she can make inside the Octagon.
Is the hype behind @MackenzieDern real? @KennyFlorian and @Bisping breakdown her future and her upcoming fight vs. Ashley Yoder! https://t.co/kUuQZZZbER
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) February 22, 2018
“Having all the hype and going into the UFC now, it means a lot to me,” she said. “This type of eyes and attention is what helps me grow and become a great fighter. To have all these eyes on me is going to make me take that extra step to be a bigger star.”
Don’t miss Dern takes on Yoder on FS1 Saturday night and make sure to pre-order UFC 222 now to see Cris Cyborg make her second title defense against UFC newcomer Yana Kunitskaya. Plus, featherweight championship contenders Frankie Edgar and Brian Ortega battle it out for the right to face champion Max Holloway later this year.