Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter and American Mixed Martial Artist Mackenzie Dern is on a rapid rise in her MMA career. Two years after becoming an MMA fighter, she made her debut at the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2018. Originally a Jiu-Jitsu fighter, Dern is both BJJ and ADCC World Champion. She was once the highest-ranking woman in BJJ and has won all the major titles there are in martial arts. Dern moved to the MMA in 2016 to become UFC champion and so far things are looking quite good, with many speculating that she could become the next Ronda Rousey. Follow us as we discuss more this fierce fighter who is attracting more attention day after day.
Who is Mackenzie Dern The American Mixed Martial Artist?
Mackenzie Dern was born on March 24, 1993, in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the daughter of Wellington Dias aka “Megaton”, a well-known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner (BJJ) who has been training since 1976. She grew up in both Arizona and Rio, so she is fluent in English and Portuguese. Under the guidance of her father, Mackenzie began training Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 3. She then attended Ironwood High School in Glendale.
She turned out to be a very old hand, as she was ready to take up sports at the age of 6. She quickly became a prodigy and had her name in the headlines whenever there was news about women in BJJ.
At the age of 14, she started competing in the adult class. Dern continued to win a world championship at every belt level. She shone at the 2012 ADCC North American Championships in San Diego, where she won a gold medal.
Three months before her 20th birthday, Dern was promoted to the black belt class by her father. She remains the only BJJ fighter to win gold medals at the five highest-ranked IBJJF Gi championships, which include the World Championships, Euro, Asian Open, Pan American, and Brazilian Championships.
In 2016 Mackenzie Dern decided to take on a new challenge – MMA. She began fighting under Legacy Fighting Alliance. In November 2017 she moved to the Invicta Fighting Championship and joined the UFC in early 2018. Dern is determined to become UFC champion. In her spare time, she continues to practice BJJ.
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Here are Facts to Know
- The stepmother of Dern, Luciana Tavares, is also a BJJ fighter with a black belt.
- Her victory over Gabi Garci in 2015 is still one of her most famous victories. Garcia came into the fight as the undefeated champion for five years and even surpassed Dern by about 80 pounds. Despite this, Dern won in a fight that was described as one of the biggest equalizer matches in the history of female BJJ.
- Dern’s father, Wellington Dias, does not like the idea of Dern fighting in the MMA and says he does not feel good as a father when he sees his daughter being punched in the face. He supports her anyway.
- Since she has been a mixed martial artist, she has been severely criticized for her uneven weight. By her 7th MMA fight at UFC 224 in May 2018, Mackenzie had missed her weight three times.
- She lost 30% of her fight money to her UFC 224 opponent Amanda Cooper because she appeared to be 7 pounds heavier than the strawweight limit for the fight. The exact figures were $13,050 of the $58,000 she earned from the fight. Her penalty included forfeiting the $50,000 “Fight Night” performance bonus.
- Due to inconsistencies, Mackenzie Dern was ordered to leave the elite gym, The MMA Lab, where she had been training. After she was forced out of the gym, Dern spoke to MMA junkie and said that she and coach John Crouch were “not 100% understanding”.
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- Mackenzie Dern is an animal lover, especially dogs. She owns two American bulldogs, which appear frequently in her interviews.
- Rumor has it that the fighter has a relationship with Marcus Almeida aka Buchecha, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion colleague.
- Dern stands at a height of 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 115 lbs. She has a reach of 63 inches and a leg length of 37 inches.
- Back in her high school days, Dern used her jiu-jitsu skills to teach a lesson to a child who was trying to bully her childhood male friend. The bully, a girl, had broken her boyfriend’s glasses by throwing them on the floor.