Mackenzie Dern has admitted the idea of challenging UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko is getting more and more “attractive.”
Since becoming 125-pound queen in 2018, Shevchenko has developed into one of the most dominant champions in the UFC. In six title defenses, which is a record among active champs in the promotion, “Bullet” has fought off the challenges of Jessica Eye, Liz Carmouche, Katlyn Chookagian, Jennifer Maia, Jéssica Andrade, and Lauren Murphy.
Shevchenko’s most recent retention came at UFC 266 last month. Against Murphy, the Kyrgyzstani star put her incredible ability to hit and not be hit on full display. After controlling a fairly lacklustre three rounds, largely due to little resistance from “Lucky,” Shevchenko turned the heat up in the fourth round. With a flurry of punches and elbows, the champ gave the T-Mobile Arena crowd the brutal finish they were looking for.
With the remaining competition in the current flyweight division wearing thin, Shevchenko may have to look elsewhere for her future challenges. While many have suggested it’s time for a trilogy fight with featherweight and bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, one strawweight contender has revealed her desire to bring a new threat to “Bullet.”
Speaking to reporters at UFC Vegas 39 media day ahead of her upcoming fight, Mackenzie Dern suggested she could look to find championship success at both 115 and 125 pounds.
“I’ve fought at 125 before, but it was kind of not a very strong Mackenzie. It was kind of like a little bit lazy Mackenzie, like not so professional. So definitely just watching Valentina, she’s (been champion for a long time). The girls are trying, were trying, but I’m like, ‘Man, we need someone to fight her.’ Maybe a jiu-jitsu girl is someone to beat her. Who knows? But definitely, I can see myself getting to 125 but as a fit Mackenzie. So that idea is getting more and more attractive to me to go and try and just make history.”
Dern previously fought at flyweight under the promotional banner of LFA. In 2017, she defeated Mandy Polk by way of a rear-naked choke in her 125-pound debut.
While Shevchenko looks for her next challenger, Dern will be preparing for her first UFC main event. The Arizona-born Brazilian will enter the Octagon with Marina Rodriguez in this weekend’s UFC Vegas 39 headliner.
Since returning from maternity leave with her one and only defeat in MMA against Amanda Ribas, Dern has been on an incredible run of form. Her active four-fight win streak, which includes wins over Randa Markos, Virna Jandiroba, and Nina Nunes, has seen her collect three Performance of the Night bonuses and three first-round submissions.
Should she be victorious over Rodriguez, the skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner will certainly move into contention for a title shot in the near future.
How do you think Mackenzie Dern would fare against UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko?
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