Mackenzie Dern, who is one of the most decorated female BJJ athletes in the world, won her MMA debut at Legacy 58 last month with a dominant and lopsided decision. Dern has already taken over the jiujitsu world as she achieved numerous grappling world championships, and at just 23-years-old, she is looking to accomplish the same in mixed martial arts.
Benson Henderson is one of her teammates, and the former UFC champ has incredibly high praise for her and what she can achieve in the sport.
“She will be bigger than Ronda Rousey before Ronda Rousey lost,” Henderson said on The MMA Hour. “She’s going to be huge. She’s going to be big. She has an excellent work ethic.
“Go look her up, she is a multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion. She’s won ADCC. She’s won Abu Dhabi. She’s won Worlds. She’s the current No. 1 ranked female jiu-jitsu practitioner on the planet. She has an amazing work ethic. She’s an amazing athlete. She definitely needs to work on her MMA skills, but her ground game is phenomenal. Any woman on the planet goes to the ground with Mackenzie and Mackenzie is going to tap her, or dominate her like she did her first opponent.”
Apart from having grappling chops, it’s easy to understand why the former UFC champion thinks Dern will be as marketable as Rousey. Despite just having one MMA bout, and not being known much outside of grappling circles, Dern already has over 208,000 followers on Instagram. That’s on par or even more than many established MMA fighters and UFC champions.
Henderson thinks that if she fulfills her potential, we’ll even be able to see Dern on the silver screen in the future.
“Mackenzie’s game is great for MMA because her fundamentals are so strong. Because her fundamentals are so strong, it allows her to do some fancier stuff on the ground, and then because her fundamentals are so strong, it allows her to do well in MMA also. I think her working her butt off, staying grounded in the MMA world, getting better, growing, she’s super young, she’s going to be a big huge star. In 10 years you’ll see her in movies and stuff and she’s going to do great. She’s going to be awesome.”
Dern made her MMA debut at the strawweight division. Interestingly enough, she also has an ADCC victory over a fellow BJJ ace turned MMA fighter in Gabi Garcia, who last fought weighing over 200 lbs.
For more info on her grappling style and accolades, check out our ADCC profile on Dern from last year.
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