Four Reasons to Watch Mackenzie Dern Fight at Legacy 58

Mackenzie Dern may be making her MMA debut at Legacy 58, but there are still plenty of reasons to watch her step into the cage.

On Friday, July 22, Mackenzie Dern—one of the most promising female prospects in all of MMA—will lock horns with Kenia Rosas (who is also making her pro debut) at Legacy 58. Legacy is a regional promotion, and even though its network, AXS TV, is sizable, thoroughly marketing each of its fight cards is difficult; an entirely new event (from one of a variety of fight companies) airs most every Friday.

Still, we should take the time to appreciate the magnitude of tomorrow’s show; win or lose, Mackenzie Dern will make female MMA history, and at just twenty-three years of age, she’ll be a fixture of MMA and/or BJJ for a long time to come.

Here are four reasons to watch Mackenzie Dern fight at Legacy 58.

4. She is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Champion

Mackenzie Dern is an outstanding BJJ practitioner.

This will be abundantly clear from watching one minute or so of her jiu-jitsu highlights, but her professional accolades further drive the point home. Dern is a BJJ black belt under her father, Wellington “Megaton” Dias, who is a decorated world champion, and more broadly, is considered to be one of the greatest grapplers alive.

Dern has also accumulated gold medals from multiple world jiu-jitsu championships, as well as a sole gold medal from the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships.

To be blunt, Mackenzie Dern has already secured more medals and passed more career peaks than most BJJ athletes do in an entire lifetime. Needless to say, she is an absolute joy to watch on the mat, and if her MMA fight makes it there, fans will be in for a real treat.

3. She Trains at the MMA Lab

Just because an athlete is incredibly well-versed in jiu-jitsu doesn’t mean that he or she will succeed in mixed martial arts; longtime fans of the sport can definitely attest to this point’s validity.

However, Mackenzie Dern has evidently been taking every possible step she can to ensure her victory at Legacy 58. It’s likely that many elite grapplers who failed in MMA neglected their striking by adopting a training routine similar to that found in their BJJ competition days, but Mackenzie Dern has not—and that’s another big part of what makes her pro debut so thrilling.

Instead, she has been training at the MMA Lab in Glendale, Arizona—one of the best gyms in the US and the world, and the spot that Benson Henderson, Bryan Barberena, Alex Caceres, Joe Riggs, Jon Tuck, Yaotzin Meza, John Moraga, and many other elite competitors call home.

The result of Dern’s high-quality MMA training will be a developed and all-encompassing arsenal of techniques available for use during her fight against Kenia Rosas (and in future contests).

2. She is Fearless

Anyone who steps into an MMA cage is a badass, and as we’re certain that Dern will do so, we can assume that she is as well. However, just because someone fights professionally doesn’t mean he or she is fearless.

Mackenzie Dern is however fearless, and this fearlessness should translate into an exciting fighting style.

Case and point: she competed (in jiu-jitsu) against Gabi Garcia (who at the time weighed close to three hundred pounds)—and won. What makes the feat even more impressive is the questionable nature of Garcia’s physique (although they’re not official, she failed most every “eye test” and was likely taking some sort of performance-enhancing drug) and Dern’s own weight, which at the time, one can surmise was about 130 lbs.

Despite giving up nearly 170 lbs. to a skilled and immensely powerful grappler, Dern won. What’s more is that she chose to compete in a situation which many considered impossible.

1. Her Bout Will Air Live and Free on AXS TV, Along with Other Exciting Fights

If the three previous reasons to watch Mackenzie Dern make her MMA debut aren’t enough, consider this: Dern’s fight, and several others, will air live and free on AXS TV. AXS’s live broadcasts are great, thanks to the attentive work of sound and video experts, as well as the marvelous commentary of the fight-calling veteran Michael Schiavello and the former UFC welterweight champion Pat Miletich.

Accompanying Dern vs Rosas is a main event tussle between Robert Drysdale—a BJJ world champion, training partner of Dern, and undefeated mixed martial artist—and Ryan Spann, an ever-improving submission specialist. The co-main event will see gritty veterans Rey Trujillo and Josh Quayhagen battle, and as a whole, this is a solid card.


The culmination of these points is a must-watch event. Whether she wins or loses, excites or bores, or finds a finish or a decision, Mackenzie Dern will make history tomorrow night; never before have so many fans been interested in the professional debut of a female fighter.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest women’s sports news here at Athena Sports Net! Previously written boxing and MMA articles can be accessed here.

Max King