Women’s MMA gains another top-level competitor in the straw-weight division on Friday, July 22. An ADCC and world Jiu-Jitsu champion, Mackenzie Dern is ready to debut in MMA and will fight against Kenia Roses at Legacy FC 58, in Louisiana, U.S.
Born in Glendale, Arizona, Mackenzie is the daughter of Megaton Dias, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend. Encouraged by him, she began training age 3 and started competing at 6. Graduation as a black belt came at 19, and now, at 23, Mackenzie relives her days as a beginner in the lead-up to her MMA debut.
“I started my standup, wrestling and Jiu-Jitsu training to debut in MMA in December, and since then I have devoted so much already to this fight. I’ve evolved, especially in recent weeks, feeling more confident. It was like going back to school — I had to learn to punch, take down, defend against takedowns, and many other things. But I’m very happy and well prepared to win in my debut”, said Dern.
Mackenzie trains at MMA Lab team, the same gym as names as Ben Henderson and Augusto Tanquinho, and spent the past year racking up incredible performances. She won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Abu Dhabi World Pro and the ADCC, and even won the European this year. To continue shining, this time in the cage, Mackenzie has thoroughly studied her opponent’s game.
“She’s a very aggressive fighter, who likes striking. I believe that she will not want to go to the ground with me, but I will not only seek grappling. I’ve always been very aggressive in Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA is no different. Always fighting with intelligence. We will trade many punches in the face”, she says, laughing.