Potential UFC superstar Mackenzie Dern forced to answer inevitable questions over her accent
It's early days, but Mackenzie Dern's superstar potential is undeniable.
There is always room for more stars in the UFC. This is particularly true of the women's divisions, who have been crying out for a bankable poster girl since Ronda Rousey's abrupt exit. Many see Mackenzie Dern, who makes her promotional debut at UFC 222, as the frontrunner to be WMMA's next big thing and it's easy to see why.
At 24, Dern has youth on her side. She has an undefeated 5-0 record but, unlike Rousey, her wins have all come against relatively unknown opponents in far smaller organisations. This is part of the reason why there is no air of invincibility. That pressure from fans, media and commentators to maintain her 0 is non-existent. At least, right now it is.
Also, Dern is already a viral star. 2.4 million people watched her fight a male judoka on YouTube. A further million viewers watched her MMA debut and her No Gi loss to Gabi Garcia. Plus, the BJJ black belt's outrageous 'pretzeling' of Montana Stewart in her sophomore MMA bout forced whoever wasn't on the hype train within the community to stand up and take notice.
The more Dern's thrust into the spotlight, the more minute details of her life are going to be analysed by fans. One that has already received a staggering amount of attention is her accent.
Although she was born in Phoenix, Arizona, she speaks English with a Brazilian accent. There is a theory that she has purposefully changed her accent in order to appeal to the Brazilian market. Videos, message boards, forums and even podcasts have featured discussions on the perceived change in her accent over the years.
Dern is bilingual and is the daughter of native Portuguese speaker Wellington 'Megaton' Dias. Yet still, people suspect there's an ulterior motive behind her thick accent.
Facing the inevitable
Ahead of her bout against Ashley Yoder, Dern was quizzed about the fascination with her accent. As she told Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, she's flattered by the interest.
"Yeah, it's so flattering, you know? (Laughs) You know, I haven't seen this video and I won't watch it. I think it's just funny how they're talking about it and I think after my UFC fights they'll pay more attention to my fighting. But, they're paying so much attention to this - it's a compliment."
"I think people are starting to understand this is me, it's who I am. I think it will pass in a while."
She fleshed out how here accent formed a little more to Jonathan Snowden of Bleacher Report. By the sounds of it, she eats, breathes and sleeps Portuguese.
Next time you give out about her accent, blame on her dog!