Mackenzie Dern makes her mixed martial arts debut tonight on AXS for Legacy Fighting Championships. She is a BJJ black belt world champion and one of the more intriguing prospects in all mixed martial arts. Here are 10 Fast Facts on Dern leading up to her first fight, only a few hours away.
1. Dern is a BJJ prodigy, who began training with her father, Wellington “Megaton” Dias at the age of 3 and competing against adults at 14. She earned her black belt at the ripe old age of 19.
2. As an only child, she spent most of her youth living in Arizona and Brazil.
3. Dern’s most famous BJJ victory came against Gabi Garcia in 2015, in the Absolute division at the Abu Dhabi World Championships. Garcia had gone undefeated in BJJ events for over five years and outweighed Dern by nearly 80 pounds. Dern’s victory was one of the biggest upsets in Women’s BJJ history.
4. The IBJJF still ranks Dern as the top female black belt in the world.
5. As a black belt, she has won Gold medals, in the ADCC – 60 KG class in 2015 and the World Jiu Jitsu Championships -59 KG class in 2015 and 2016.
6. Dern’s father, Megaton, is not thrilled with his daughter’s move into MMA. He was once quoted as saying, “This is a bad, bad deal man. As a father, I really don’t want to see her doing MMA. But I support her in whatever she does.”
7. Dern has been training for her first fight at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona. The MMA Lab is led by head coach John Crouch and is the home for elite fighters like, Benson Henderson, John Moraga, Joe Riggs, Efrain Escudero, Bryan Barbarena, and Jocelyn Lybarger.
8. Dern will fight Kenia Rosas, another fighter making her professional MMA debut, for Legacy Fighting Championships. Rosas has gone 4-2 as an amateur fighter though.
9. Yesterday, Dern weighed in at 116 lbs for her MMA debut. She often competed at 132 lbs, in BJJ competitions.
10. In 2017, Dern would still like to compete in BJJ tournaments, but her ultimate goal is to sign with the UFC.
In addition to Dern’s MMA debut, it should also be noted that another BJJ legend, Robert Drysdale fights at Legacy FC 58. He will be fighting Ryan Spann for the legacy FC Light Heavyweight Championship on AXS tonight. (Note from Mike: Drysdale used to be married to Michelle Nicolini, who has long been Dern’s greatest rival!)