At 28 years old, Mackenzie Dern is one of those fighters, who you know will ultimately end up in the main event someday. Since her childhood days when she traveled along with her father to his native Brazil, (A respected grappler himself) she was destined to shine in some form of combat. Dern entered UFC Fight Night: Holland vs Vettori expecting to be fodder for a returning Nina Ansaroff Nunes, but instead made quick work of the veteran with her patent armbar.
The first minute of the fight saw them go back and forth until Dern landed a takedown, prompting a quick transition by Ansaroff where she was almost able to secure the triangle. That was the most adversity Dern faced in the fight before she took control and submit her opponent with a brutal armbar in the final 12 seconds of the round. Though not Amanda, having a Nunes in the list of people you beat is a great addition regardless. So the question has to be asked, what’s next for Mackenzie Dern?
Mackenzie Dern vs Amanda Ribas 2.
This one is a no-brainer since it’s the only stain on Dern’s career. Back in 2019 Ribas took home a unanimous decision victory over Dern. Since then both have been dominant in their respective fights.
However, at UFC 257, Ribas was knocked out by Marina Rodriguez, thus ending her 5-fight win streak. Now that the Weili and Namajunas are set to square of at UFC 261, it’s a good chance for the young contenders to shine. Both are extraordinary grapplers who can remain equally composed on the feet. This rematch is the one to make sooner rather than later.
Now hear me out. Granted this is a big leap forward in the competition, it has that sweet veteran vs new blood story that we all love. Considering Dern’s last opponent was ranked in the top 5, it isn’t that farfetched that she gets the #2 ranked fighter, inactive for over a year. A win over Joanna would skyrocket her chance at a title shot against Weili or Namajunas.
All this doesn’t even factor in the addition of a new face in the division whose upper echelons are always filled with faces who’ve been there for years (Rose/Joanna/Waterson). This is a great opportunity for both fighters, as Joanna could get back in the win column or Dern could show that she truly belongs at the top.