It has been a great year for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern.
After the 23-year-old ground wizard announced she was set to pursue a career in professional mixed martial arts, she signed with Legacy Fighting Championships. There was plenty of attention on Dern’s debut and she was able to secure a decision win.
In Dern’s second MMA bout at Legacy FC 61 earlier this month, she flashed her submission skills with a beautiful Imanari choke win over Montana Stewart.
If that wasn’t enough, Dern followed up her run of success in the cage with another title on the mat. Over the weekend, Dern made the trip to Japan and claimed the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Tokyo championship.
It appears as though the UFC is watching.
Dern, the daughter of fifth-degree Gracie black belt Wellington “Megaton” Dias, was speaking with MMAjunkie.com when she revealed she has already been in talks with the UFC and is hoping to debut in the promotion in 2017.
“The UFC talked to us already,” Dern told MMA Junkie. “My team and my coaches, we talked with them, and we definitely want to – I want to be there. I’m hoping in 2017 I’ll be there. But I don’t want to get just thrown into the shark tank. I want to go in there being a shark. I don’t want to be the fish for the sharks.
“I respect all the girls there, and I know they’re at the highest level. It’s not jiu-jitsu. It’s a different sport. And I know that jiu-jitsu can help me for so long, but I know that sooner or later, I’ll have to be ready to take them down or something like that. So we’re just taking our time. I hope in 2017 I can be in the UFC. We’re just being patient and trying to get better as fast as possible. And while I’m doing that, I’m just enjoying the process.”
There is no denying Dern has what it takes to become a superstar in the UFC. She has the rare talent that will blow your mind and a marketable look has helped mixed martial artists get over to the mainstream in the past.
It will just come down to whether or not she can round out her game enough to compete with women who have been doing MMA for their entire lives.
All we know is it will be fun to watch.