UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern is unlike most other Americans in many ways (just listen to her speak), but the way she is perhaps most profoundly different is that she has found a way to flourish professionally during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dern has enjoyed a solid push from the UFC brass ever since she debuted as an undefeated fighter back in 2018, finding herself fighting on main cards in 6/7 of her bouts for the promotion so far.
Yet, only one of those took place on an actual PPV event, while this will also be her first time ever headlining a UFC show in any capacity.
Despite many labeling Saturday nightâ€™s upcoming UFC Vegas 39 event as a serious contender for weakest card of 2021, there is still always something to be said for anyone headlining any event for the leading MMA company on the planet.
Up until this point, it has been generally believed that Mackenzie Dernâ€™s popularity – both within the UFC brass and amongst fans – has mostly been based around her looks and social media presence (she currently boasts almost 1M followers on Instagram).
While that may have some truth to it, anyone would be a fool not to recognize Dern as the elite prospect (now entering her prime) that she really is. The Brazilian National heads into this fight against a super game Marina Rodriguez (14-1-2) with a stellar 6-1 record in the UFC (11-1 overall).
The BJJ prodigy also has recorded four finishes (all coming in the first round and by submission) which is a very high finishing percentage, especially compared to other female fighters.
The womenâ€™s strawweight division is universally recognized as the toughest, deepest division in all of womenâ€™s MMA and the #4-ranked Dern has a chance to make another statement in the biggest spot of her career.
Will a win at UFC Vegas 39 lead Dern to a title shot?
With plenty of attention being focused on the upcoming 115-pound title rematch between Rose Namajunas and Weili Zhang taking place on November 6th at UFC 268, Mackenzie Dern could do well for herself to score an impressive finish this weekend.
Taking out the very formidable, and #6-ranked 115â€™er in a main event spot could potentially be enough for the BJJ Black Belt to earn herself a title shot sometime in 2022.
More than likely, though, itâ€™ll take one more win after this one to sew that shot up.
Crazier things have surely already taken place in the UFC, and you can bet Dern believes she is just one more fantastic submission away from getting her first shot at UFC gold.