Arguably the greatest prospect in MMA has signed with the UFC
Get ready to get on board with Mackenzie Dern.
The emergence of female talent in mixed martial arts has provided us with some legitimate superstars in recent years but the next big thing is set to arrive on the big stage and, if her early performances are anything to go by, Dern has the potential to be a Ronda Rousey with staying power.
Rousey undeniably led the way for women in MMA but her attitude, as well as the questionable coaching of her, saw her effectively retire before her 30th birthday.
After both Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes highlighted the glaring striking deficiencies of 'Rowdy', the first ever UFC women's bantamweight champion walked away from the sport and while she left us with plenty of great memories, it's hard not to wonder what she'd have been capable of if she'd joined one of MMA's super-camps, who could have honed the Judo expert's stand-up to an adequate level.
Dern is a grappler too, of course, but the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt has been working under esteemed coach John Crouch for years and has the likes of former UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson to turn to for striking advice at The MMA Lab.
Hailed as one of the greatest female BJJ practitioners of all time, Dern is expected to make her UFC debut against Ashley Yoder at UFC 222 on March 3 in Las Vegas, according to MMA Fighting.
Mackenzie Dern is destined for the UFC's newest division https://t.co/ACnX7pnzZI
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) October 14, 2017
Having put together a 5-0 record in professional MMA, with three victories coming by way of submission, Dern is set to take the UFC strawweight division by storm in 2018.
UFC matchmaker Sean Shelby confirmed the imminent Octagon debut of 24-year-old at the weekend and there is no denying that Dern has the potential to eclipse what Rousey accomplished in her three short years at the pinnacle of MMA.
She's immensely marketable, she's got matchless skill in one particular discipline and she's applied herself to working on her striking from a young age after mastering her martial art of choice by the time she was a teenager.
Dern, who famously overcame a massive size disadvantage to defeat Gabi Garcia in the Abu Dhabi World Pro open class semi-final in 2015, has previously been backed for unprecedented levels of greatness by campmate and UFC vet Benson Henderson.
"She will be bigger than Ronda Rousey before Ronda Rousey lost," Henderson said on The MMA Hour in 2016. "She's going to be huge. She's going to be big. She has an excellent work ethic.
"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."