23-year-old Mackenzie Dern made her MMA debut at LFC 58 in July. The jiu-jitsu wizard put on a dominating performance for all three rounds of her fight with Kenia Rosas and ended up winning a unanimous decision.
Dern is honing her MMA skills with former UFC lightweight champion and current Bellator star Benson Henderson at The MMA Lab in Arizona. Henderson spoke on The MMA Hour on Monday and talked about Dern’s potential.
“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.”
Henderson attributes Dern’s strong foundation to building a successful career in mixed martial arts.
“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.”
While Henderson admits that the buzz surrounding Dern is “almost a gift and a curse” because living up to hype is such a tough thing to handle, he believes Dern has everything needed to be highly successful in mixed martial arts.
“Living up to it is going to be hard, but I think she has all of the tools, she has all of the skills to do just that.”