Dern: Rousey Wasn’t An Inspiration, I Want to Be Better

Mackenzie Dern, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the highly touted Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias, is widely considered the best female submission artist in the world and has won multiple BJJ world championships. Though she has yet to fight on the biggest stages, she is considered the top prospect in women’s MMA.

The 23-year-old grappling phenom made her mixed martial arts debut last year and has won two straight fights, beating Kenia Rosas via unanimous decision and locking up a beautiful imanari choke against Montana Stewart at Legacy Fighting Championship 61.

Fans have already begun to draw parallels between Dern and Ronda Rousey, expecting the MMA newcomer to reach similar heights as the UFC’s biggest female star.

Dern, though, says ‘Rowdy’ has never been an inspiration and expects to surpass the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion in popularity and accomplishment.

“I definitely didn’t look up to Ronda," Dern told Sherdog.com in a recent interview. "Maybe it was just the personality part of it. I just never really connected with that type of personality. I’ve never met her in person, so I really don’t know how she is. She definitely opened the doors for women. When I saw everything that she was able to accomplish with her skills and everything else, it made me think that I could do this.

“I never looked at her as an inspiration. I want to be bigger than her. I want to be the best Mackenzie. I think I have a different image and I can be a different kind of role model. I have a different style to her, and I want to take that as far as possible.”

Rousey, 30, spearheaded women’s MMA into the mainstream with her unparalleled accomplishments and highly relatable personality, finishing eleven out of her twelve wins in the first round.

Recently, though, the Olympic bronze medalist was knocked off the No. 1 spot in brutal fashion, losing the bantamweight title via head kick KO to Holly Holm in 2015 and succumbing to a barrage of strikes from current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. It’s unknown whether Rousey will ever return to the combat sports arena.

Dern, who could very well be WMMA’s next big star, is scheduled to take on Katherine Roy (1-0) in a 120 lbs. catchweight bout later tonight at LFA 6. Dern offered up 20% of her fighter purse because the fight was supposed to be contested at 115 lbs.

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