UFC may be making huge gamble with potential superstar Mackenzie Dern
The UFC really have something special in Mackenzie Dern.
Mackenzie Dern was a star before she was signed by the UFC. The world's largest MMA promotion should provide her with the requisite platform to grow her fandom even more.
Long before she got that coveted call, people were comparing Dern to Ronda Rousey. The former UFC women's bantamweight champion will go down as one of the biggest superstars the promotion ever had on its roster. She is one of the few mixed martial artists to break into the mainstream and many feel that Dern has all the necessary ingredients to do likewise.
Together, her professional MMA debut, her fight against a male judoka and her jiu-jitsu loss to Gabi Garcia have racked up over 3.5 million hits on YouTube. A further 2.4 million people have seen her on UFC 222 Embedded. The viewership during the card itself peaked at 1,076,000 which, unsurprisingly, came during her promotional debut against Ashley Yoder.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) March 3, 2018
We learned two things from Dern's split decision win over Yoder. Firstly, she's clearly tough.
She got caught overextending with a wild flurry in the second round. Yoder countered perfectly with a left hand that landed just behind the ear and sent her to the mat. She showed great gameness to get back to her feet, recover and keep fighting until the final buzzer.
The second thing we learned was an obvious flaw in her game. While many criticised her stand-up, it was actually her wrestling that stuck out like a sore thumb.
Considering how decorated her jiu-jitsu career was, Dern would have a huge advantage on the ground against the vast majority of flyweights on the roster. The problem is she really struggled to bring the fight there against Yoder.
She constantly tried to get the takedown from the body lock position but was unable to convert any of them. The one takedown she got, which resulted in a few submission attempts that won her the fight came from a single leg in the latter stages.
The logical thing to do would have been to give her time off to work on this aspect of her game. However, with the UFC 224 PPV going down in Rio, Dern wanted the quick turnaround. According to a report from MMA Brasil, this request has been granted.
The 6-0 prospect is slated to take on Amanda Bobby Cooper (3-3, 2-2 UFC) on the card. It's hardly a nightmare match-up for Dern, but the swiftness of the booking is a little concerning. If they keep throwing Dern into the Octagon without allowing sufficient time to improve, that 0 is guaranteed to go.