UFC Las Vegas: Mackenzie Dern Must Regain Diminished Attention
By James Lee
As championship implications are heavily fixated around Saturday’s main event, the fighter in arguably the most consequential situation is Mackenzie Dern.
A former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and now UFC flyweight contender who will want to regain her diminished attention.
The analogy of a must-win is unquestionably a frequent storyline behind every mixed martial event, but it certainly lingers as true for the Brazilian fighter in Las Vegas.
Crucially, Dern was once amongst the most publicised female fighters in the sport at one moment, but now, her standing is swiftly being neglected.
It must be said that the period in which she found prosperity in the UFC in 2018 correlated greatly with a lack of lead fighters at the time, which meant gaps were available and she certainly filled them with her controversial demeanour and wildly skilful ground game.
Dern made an impressive start to her professional MMA career after transitioning from jiu-jitsu, with two consecutive UFC wins in two months alongside her victories in LFA and Invicta setting her up as one of the sport’s biggest hopes two years ago.
However, an unexpected and lengthy hiatus last year following the birth of her first child seemingly wiped her from the minds of the masses and she failed to regain that hype in October last year when she was beaten by fellow Brazilian Amanda Ribas.
The return came just months after giving birth and in hindsight was perhaps the wrong move to take, especially in risking her unbeaten professional record.
Of note, her struggle to stay within the 115 lbs limit can also be attributed to the fighting world being somewhat turned off from her progression and antics. Dern missed weight by 7 lbs at UFC 224; the third time in her developing career.
Although she made it on her return to the sport late last year, the talk is likely to always surround her fighting existence. Winning on Saturday is important, but just as important is conferring consistency.
Ultimately, the contest could terminate her ever being considered for championship potential providing it goes amiss for her. Fifteen minutes against tough American Hannah Cifers stands in the way of that potential push; making the UFC Apex a key venue for her future.