Mackenzie Dern, a multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion, made her MMA debut in 2016 under the Invicta FC banner. She went 5-0 with that promotion before she signed with the UFC. Her octagon debut came in March when she earned a split decision win over Ashley Yoder.
Because of her jiu-jitsu success, Dern drew comparisons to the UFC’s first woman champion, Ronda Rousey, who had a successful judo career before she transitioned to MMA.
“It was nice. It was a compliment,” Dern said of those comparisons during a recent media event (via MMAjunkie). “Everything she is doing for women in MMA is so great. I hope I can do that too – even do more than what she’s done.”
However, Dern also thinks her road to UFC success will be more difficult than Rousey’s.
“She came into MMA when women’s MMA was very new,” Dern said. “So of course she’s going to face different obstacles than I face. I imagine that to break the barrier (of being the first woman in the UFC) for her was a big obstacle. I don’t have to break that barrier. But at the same time, I’m in the 115 (pound) division. My division, for my opinion, is the hardest division in women’s (MMA), even more than her division (135 pounds) today. I think that 115 is stronger, so I fight way more tough girls.”
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Andy Gonzalez is a coach at Aces Jiu Jitsu Club. He has earned his purple belt under Professor Mikal Abdullah. Follow Andy on Twitter at @GoGoGonzilla
Andy lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Amanda and their 3 beautiful children. Andy is also the father of a Marine who is honorably serving in the United States Marine Corps.