Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu fighter and American mixed martial artist Mackenzie Dern is fast rising in her MMA career. She made her debut appearance in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2018 two years after becoming an MMA fighter. Originally a Jiu-Jitsu fighter, Dern is a BJJ as well as an ADCC world champion. She was once the highest ranked woman in BJJ and has won every major title there is to be won in the combat sports. Dern switched to MMA in 2016 in order to become a UFC champion and so far, things are shaping up quite nicely with many speculating that she could become the next Ronda Rousey. Follow us as we discuss more about this fierce fighter who keeps garnering attention by the day.
Who is Mackenzie Dern The American Mixed Martial Artist?
Mackenzie Dern was born on the 24th day of March 1993 in Phoenix, Arizona. She is the daughter of Wellington Dias aka “Megaton,” a renowned Brazillian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) practitioner who has been training since 1976. She was raised both in Arizona and Rio, thus she is fluent both in English and Portuguese. Under her father’s tutelage, Mackenzie began training Brazillian jiu-jitsu from the age of 3. Dern graduated from Glendale’s Ironwood High School.
She proved to be a chip off the old block as she was ready to compete in the sports from the young age of 6. She quickly became a child prodigy and had her name on the headlines whenever there was any news about females in the BJJ.
At 14 years old, she began competing in the adult division. Dern would go on to win a world championship at every belt level. She shined 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 level by her father. She remains the only female BJJ fighter to win gold medals at the 5 highest ranking IBJJF Gi Championships which include; the Worlds, the Euros, Asian Open, the Pan American and the Brazilian Nationals.
In 2016, Mackenzie Dern decided to go for a new challenge – MMA. She began fighting under Legacy Fighting Alliance. She moved to Invicta Fighting Championship in November 2017 and joined the UFC in early 2018. Dern is determined to become a UFC Champion. She continues to practice BJJ in her free time.
Here are Facts to Know
• Dern’s step-mother, Luciana Tavares is also a black belt BJJ fighter.
• Her victory over Gabi Garci in 2015, remains one of her most famous victories. Garcia came into the bout as a 5-year undefeated champ and even outweighed Dern by about 80 pounds. Regardless, Dern went on to win in what was dubbed one of the biggest offsets in female BJJ history.
• Dern’s father, Wellington Dias does not like the idea of Dern fighting in the MMA saying he doesn’t feel good as a father seeing his daughter get punched in the face. He supports her regardless.
• She has been heavily criticized for inconsistent weight since becoming a mixed martial artist. By her 7th MMA bout at UFC 224 in May 2018, Mackenzie had missed weight thrice.
• Dern lost 30% of her fight purse to her UFC 224 opponent Amanda Cooper for appearing for the fight 7 pounds heavier than the strawweight limit. The exact figures were $13,050 out of the $58,000 salary the fight brought her. Her penalty also included her forfeiting the $50,000 “Fight Night” performance bonus.
• Due to inconsistency, Mackenzie Dern was asked to leave the elite gym, The MMA Lab where she had been training. On being ousted from the gym, Dern spoke to MMA Junkie saying that she and coach John Crouch didn’t “have a 100-percent understanding.”
• Mackenzie Dern is an animal lover, especially dogs. She owns two American Bulldogs which are often featured in her interviews.
• The fighter was rumored to be in a relationship with Marcus Almeida aka Buchecha a fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion.
• 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 reach of 37 inches.
• Back in her high school days, Dern used her Jiu-Jitsu skills to teach a kid who was trying to bully her male childhood friend a lesson. The bully, a girl, had broken her friend’s glasses by tossing them on the floor.