On Friday night at Legacy Fighting Alliance 24, BJJ black belt Mackenzie Dern snagged her fourth win in a row. This extended her MMA streak to 4-0 and marked her second submission victory.
Mackenzie’s MMA wins are only the tip of the iceberg in her combat sports career, too. Before she set foot in the cage, the 24-year-old from Phoenix was racking up wins and medals at world-famous grappling competitions like the Mundials and Pan-Ams.
Considering her record in both grappling and MMA, one has to wonder when we will see this 120-pound neck-snapping machine in the biggest mixed martial arts promotion of them all, the UFC.
I think the UFC would be wise to give in to her demands, and here are eight reasons why.
She’s already made a name for herself.
Mackenzie Dern is easily one of the most famous people in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and being that many BJJ fans are also MMA fans, she would enter the UFC with a built-in fan base. This would make her easier to market than an unknown fighter.
She’s a high-level grappler.
She’s a BJJ black belt who has been accompanying her father — Wellington “Megaton” Dias — to the academy since she was a baby. She has also been practicing BJJ since she was 3, and in those 21 years she has cemented herself as one of the top grapplers in the world.
It would be nothing short of dumb for the UFC to pass up that type of talent.
She’s 4-0 in MMA.
How many more times does she have to win before the brass at the UFC says, “This woman is ready”? She has four professional fights under her belt and she has never lost. What more could they want?
Yes, I am aware of their weight concerns, but she has fought at 115 before, and there’s no reason to believe she can’t do it again.
She needs a chance to prove herself.
Most high-level talent is concentrated in the UFC. Go on Sherdog’s top ten lists and see for yourself how many fighters at the top of their divisions are employed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Many MMA fans write off non-UFC fighters as “cans.” I don’t necessarily agree with them, but that’s just the way it is. So if Dern wants to prove to the world that she’s a force to be reckoned with, she will have to do it in the octagon. Why wouldn’t the UFC want to give her that chance?
Mackenize Dern is only 24. She could easily give the UFC a decade’s worth of business, if not more.
She could be marketed to both American and Brazilian audiences.
Though born in Phoenix, her father is Brazilian. She could therefore quite easily win the hearts of fans in both North and South America. Once she racks up some wins in the UFC, the promotion could even market her as a headliner or co-headliner at events in both Las Vegas and Rio.
Try to put aside the arguments about “objectification” and look at this from a business angle. Considering most MMA fans are young men, a beautiful woman who takes pictures like this…
…is definitely going to help promote the UFC’s brand.
We need more women in the UFC.
For all of the feminist readers I pissed off with my last example, I think you’ll like what I have to say now.
The sports world is unfortunately dominated by men. The NFL, NBA, and MLB at best give women a chance to smile and shake their booties in short skirts for a primarily drunken male audience.
MMA is different, though. What other sport do you see women competing alongside men? What other sport features men and women training together on the same teams? What other sport features women headlining events while men are pushed into the preliminaries or co-main events?
Not a chance.
You’re joking, right?
The sport that is making the greatest effort to show the world that female athletes are not only able to perform alongside, but outperform men is mixed martial arts.
That’s not to say that the mixed martial arts world is some feminist utopia, but there is far more gender equality in the cage than there is on the field, court, or ice.
Being the biggest MMA promotion, the UFC is still the best position to promote women’s mixed martial arts. If they want to keep promoting it (as they should), they need to make sure it is stacked with popular female fighters.
As I mentioned earlier, Mackenzie Dern is already a popular fighter, and though she is still a relative “newbie” in the MMA world, she has the talent and marketability to not only help herself, but make sure all of the other women in her division get the recognition they deserve.
So let’s hope the UFC stops holding off the inevitable and signs Mackenzie Dern!