Mackenzie Dern might be jiu-jitsu’s best current hope of capturing a UFC title. On Saturday, April 10, Dern could take one massive step closer to a title shot when she meets no. 5-ranked strawweight Nina Ansaroff at UFC on ABC 2.
Mackenzie Dern is, undoubtedly, one of the best female jiu-jitsu players to ever compete in the UFC. Before she began her professional MMA career in 2016, Dern was an IBJJF black belt world champion and a no-gi absolute world champion. The daughter of BJJ legend Wellington “Megaton” Dias, she holds an impressive 2015 win over Gabi Garcia.
Dern has used her elite submission skills and natural athleticism to earn a 10-1 professional MMA record. Her lone loss came in October 2019 against Amanda Ribas, but since then, Dern has reeled off three consecutive wins in the UFC, two by submission.
Ansaroff will be returning from a near two-year lay-off following the birth of her child. She is coming into this bout following a 2019 loss to wrestler Tatiana Suarez, but had won four in a row before that loss.
Given the disparity of skill on the ground, this is certainly a winnable fight for Dern. Ansaroff is a high-volume kickboxer with plenty of experience, but if Dern is able to bring the fight to the mat, it will quickly become her fight to lose. With a win over a top-5 opponent, Dern could quickly find herself in a number-one contender fight in the UFC strawweight division.
UFC on ABC 2 takes place on Saturday, April 10, and will air live on ABC.