Mackenzie Dern has already been tabbed as a future star in mixed martial arts, and that potential hasn’t escaped the notice of UFC President Dana White.
“We’ve been checking her out, yeah,” White told TMZ Sports. “She’s a little bad ass.”
Dern is currently competing under the Legacy Fighting Alliance banner and has thus far compiled a 3-0 record in her burgeoning career. The 23-year-old is coming off a unanimous decision triumph over Katherine Roy at LFA 6 on March 10. Meanwhile, her omaplata rear-naked choke of Montana Stewart in her sophomore outing ranked as one of 2016’s best submissions. Dern is expected to make her home at strawweight, although her most recent appearance vs. Roy was contested at a 120-pound catch-weight.
Dern’s entry into MMA was celebrated in large part because of her lengthy list of accomplishments in grappling, which include world titles at the 2015 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship at 132 pounds and the 2015 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship at 130 pounds. Dern is a black belt under her father, Wellington “Megaton” Dias.
Still, White isn’t quite ready to declare Dern the sport’s “Next Big Thing.”
“You never know how good somebody’s gonna be until they get in there and start fighting the best in the world,” White said. “Obviously she has a lot of potential. Will she be another Ronda? I don’t know.”
As for Rousey, the former UFC bantamweight queen recently wrapped up filming a guest spot on the NBC series “Blindspot.” According to White, Rousey enjoyed the role and could appear on future episodes of the show.
“I think if this thing goes for another season I think she wants to stay there. She loves it,” White said. “She had a great time. She said the cast and everyone involved is awesome. She’s having a good time.”
Rousey hasn’t fought since suffering a 48-second technical loss to reigning champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on Dec. 30. Previously, the Olympic judoka took more than a year off after losing her title to Holly Holm in a second-round knockout loss at UFC 193.