Mackenzie Dern might have just put together the most complete performance in the Octagon. The 30-year-old faced Angela Hill in the main event this past Saturday on UFC Vegas 73. Dern dominated Hill through the course of five rounds to win a lopsided decisive victory. She even picked up a Fight of the Night bonus by the end of it all.
Mackenzie, who holds the record for the most submissions in UFC’s strawweight division, showed off a well-rounded game. Dern (13-3 MMA, 8-3 UFC) was coming off a fresh loss to Yan Xiaonan into the headliner. However, it only appeared to have added fuel to the fire as she went on to overwhelm Hill for 25 minutes straight.
The Arizona native’s reputation of being one of the most accomplished women in grappling has proven to be a gift and a curse for her MMA career. She has generally performed well inside the cage, but a few top contenders have exposed the limitations of her game in the recent past.
Big performance, BIG win for @MackenzieDern!
— UFC (@ufc) May 21, 2023
A few days after her fight, Dern may have very well let the fans in on who she probably took inspiration from before her recent bout. The Brazilian-American is a sensation on social media, boasting 1.1 million followers on Instagram. Earlier today, Mackenzie shared a story with none other than the former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in it.
The story shows the undefeated Russian entering round 2 of his retiring fight against Justin Gaethje in October 2020. During his time in the UFC, ‘The Eagle‘ was a force to be reckoned with. The Dagestani went on to retire while on top of the mountain, with a perfect record of 29-0.
Dern is on a mission. pic.twitter.com/aEASV1EvrO
— MS (@UFC_Obsessed) May 27, 2023
Dern captioned the said story with the words “Study” and an emoticon of books. It is worth mentioning that Dern made her debut in the UFC in the same year Khabib submitted Conor McGregor in the highly-touted fight. It’d be safe to assume that Khabib might have had an inspirational effect on Mackenzie’s recent win. Dern earned a score of 49-43, 49-44, and 49-44 over Angela.
Mackenzie Dern drawing inspiration from Khabib has fans in splits
Fans essentially know Mackenzie Dern for her grappling skills, however, this past weekend she showed more confidence in her striking abilities. In the process of beating Angela, Dern gained personal bests in the significant strikes landed in a UFC bout (126). She also picked up her fight knockdown in 5 years. At the same time, Dern also secured a career-high 3 takedowns while securing a UFC career-high control time of 13:12 minutes.
As soon as the news spread of her studying footage of Khabib’s stellar cage work, fans started expressing mixed reactions. Many have started referring to her as the future Khabib of the division. Whereas others seem to be making fun of her infamous accent changes.
Here are some reactions on the matter –
Isn’t she fuckin awesome. Just wish she was studying a real fighter but it’s all good.
— Pauli.♤ (@MMAPauli) May 27, 2023
Dagestan Dern boutta run through the division in record time pic.twitter.com/h4VfHKjxBu
— Matt N (@nut00003) May 27, 2023
What is she studying? Perhaps she’s going to change her accent again
— Jesse (@maxujess25) May 27, 2023
Learning from the GOAT
— 👇🏽 (@MMACODE) May 27, 2023
She’s gonna come out in a Russian accent her next fight
— schwick (@schwick6) May 27, 2023
She finally realized she needs to wrestle to get fights to the ground. God bless
— Blanco Picante (@nckbrry) May 27, 2023
She boutta add one more English accent in her collection
— Adarsh (@turtle6100) May 27, 2023
— country muk 🌾🤠 (@MukundN27) May 27, 2023
In her post-fight speech, Dern suggested a rematch against Xiaonan if Rose Namajunas or other former champions aren’t available.
Dern alleges domestic abuse led to divorce from her ex-husband Wesley Santos
The last time Mackenzie entered the Octagon in October, she was in the early stages of her divorce from her ex-husband Wesley Santos. The duo was married for several years until Dern announced their split in 2022. The two also share a daughter named Moa, born in 2019.
While announcing the split, the 30-year-old stated that the couple is committed to raising Moa well. However, things might have not been as they have appeared so far from the outside. According to Mackenzie, she was in the midst of a legal fight with Wesley before entering the cage against Hill.
Dern recently appeared on The MMA Hour to go into the details about her tense relationship with Santos. The third-degree BJJ black belt said, “I was in a situation in my relationship where I couldn’t even defend myself, because I was getting, like, threatened that if I did anything, I’d be talking to the police and I could lose my daughter,” she continued.
In a prepared statement, Wesley maintained innocence while denying Dern’s allegations. He has said he will speak after their divorce is final. “Because we are in the middle of legal proceedings, I cannot comment on anything at this time, except to say that Mackenzie’s statements are false and defamatory,” Wesley said.
According to court documents obtained by MMA Fighting, Dern hurled physical abuse accusations at Wesley one month before the Hill fight. In April, Dern filed a petition for a domestic abuse restraining order. She even attached videos of one such alleged incident in which he “threw my phone, water bottles, pillows, and bedding while harassing/intimidating me verbally.”
Both Dern and Santos are due in court next month. This is in regard to the ruling on the restraining order that Dern had filed in April and also the final custody agreement.