Mackenzie Dern Is Set To Introduce Herself To The World At UFC 222

Mackenzie Dern could become a real star.

UFC flyweight Mackenzie Dern, 24 years old and 5-0, will make her Octagon debut against Ashley Yoder on March 3 at UFC 222. The decorated Brazilian jiu jitsu champion has a large following in the martial arts community, and will look to parlay her popularity into a quick rise up the UFC ladder.

“I’m excited,” Dern told MMAFighting. “It’s not like ‘finally,’ but at the same time, I was ready to take the next step.”

Dern’s jiu jitsu has served her well in the cage, as she has earned a few impressive submissions. Every grappler must learn striking to perform well in MMA and it appears Dern has done just that. Her hands have looked better through each of her five fights.

“I think people are going to see me evolve — that’s what I’m most excited about. I’m not coming here just as a jiu-jitsu fighter. I’m excited for people to be with me on this journey, see me evolve and grow as a fighter, and eventually when I get the UFC belt one day, that they’ll see me grow into the steps and become more comfortable standing up and on the ground and transitions to wrestling, cagework, and all that stuff.”

To this point, Dern’s biggest opponent has been the weight cut.

“I made mistakes — people make mistakes — but I never didn’t care. It was never like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to try.’ I always went all the way until I couldn’t walk anymore. I always tried my best. So it was good for people to see, no, I’m trying to take this serious. It just takes some time.”

Dern acknowledged that her competition in the UFC, will exceed anything she has faced thus far. Still she seems excited and confident in her skill set against the best in the world.

“I’m excited to see (what happens) in the UFC. I know for sure there’s going to be girls who, maybe they believe so much in their takedown defense that they will be exchanging more. I’m excited to see how my takedowns will be then.”

Above all, she says, regardless of the rule set, fighting is familiar to her:

“I’ve been competing my whole life, so I’m not scared of the fight. That’s the most important thing.”

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