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Mackenzie Dern Targets Future Fight with Ex-UFC Champ Rose Namajunas



Rose Namajunas has been off the grid since relinquishing the strawweight crown to Carla Esparza in a forgettable rematch at UFC 274, but the ex-champ remains one of the biggest names in the strawweight division.

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Mackenzie Dern set her sights on “Thug” Rose following a dominant victory over Angela Hill in the UFC Fight Night 223 headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday night. Namajunas hasn’t fought MMA since May 2022, but Dern is aware that she has been honing her grappling skills in recent months.

“I follow her on social media and stuff, and I saw her do an ADCC regional or something like that,” Dern said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “I’m a former ADCC champion, so I’m always happy when I see the MMA girls doing jiu-jitsu. But, for sure, fighting Rose is a priority of mine right now at this moment.”

Dern has won two of her last three Octagon appearances dating back to 2022 and demonstrated considerable improvement in her standup and ground-and-pound in her latest bout. Her resume includes other notable wins over the likes of Tecia Torres, Virna Jandiroba and Nina Nunes, but Namajunas would be her most significant victory.

“I think it would be a great fight, it would be a main event, and a good test for both of us,” Dern said. “So when I see her training her jiu-jitsu, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to be an easy fight,’ but I think it could be a great fight for the public, and for us.”

If Namajunas isn’t an option, Dern just wants to face a highly-ranked opponent in her next bout.

“I would like a rematch with [Xiaonan Yan], I think she had a great performance with Jessica [Andrade],” Dern said. “I think it was a really close fight [we had], so I would like to get that rematch if Rose wasn’t available, or even Jessica Andrade — who is a former champion, too — but definitely somebody in the Top 5. I’m prepared for all of them.”

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