Beautiful women ‘have to prove themselves more’ in fight game, says UFC’s Mackenzie Dern as she rules out OnlyFans
Riding a four-fight winning streak, Brazilian-American star Dern takes on Marina Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 39 on Saturday night.
Dern knows that another convincing win will propel her further into title contention at 115lbs, having seen off Nina Nunes with a first-round submission in her previous fight in April of this year.
A former multiple jiu-jitsu world champion, Dern has suffered just one defeat in her 12-fight career since making the switch to MMA – a 2019 loss to Amanda Ribas which came just four months after giving birth.
Accompanying Dern’s ascent has been a focus on her social media, where she boasts almost 1 million followers on Instagram and often shares images of beach life with pro-surfer husband Wesley Santos and their daughter Moa.
Some of those images – coupled with Dern’s broad smile – have earned her a reputation as among the most eye-catching female UFC stars, but Dern has lamented some perceptions of women in the fight game.
“You always have to prove yourself,” Dern told MMA Fighting’s Portuguese-language podcast.
“You see men, if men are pretty in people’s opinion, men make fun of them, ‘He’s not that good.’ But women, no, they say, ‘Let’s all watch her fight because she’s beautiful.’ We go through that, you have to prove yourself even more.”
Acknowledging the idea that she likely has a multitude of male admirers online, Dern said she had dropped followers when she announced her pregnancy.
“I lost 50,000 followers fast when I announced my pregnancy, and 80,000 total until my next fight, but that has definitely changed," said the submission specialist.
“The MMA [community] has more men than women so it’s impossible to have more women than men [as followers].”
Dern also said she was relieved to have discarded some fans whose only interest appeared to be in her looks.
“I was deleting some photos of old sponsors, some old stuff, and thought, ‘Let me see if this person that commented here [was still following me],’ and he wasn’t,” said the 28-year-old.
“And I started looking at several old photos and many people that commented things like, ‘You’re so hot’ and whatnot, most of them don’t follow me anymore. I was like, ‘phew, I’ve cleaned it up.’”
Some of the UFC’s female stars past and present have cashed in on the attention they receive by starting up OnlyFans accounts or similar subscription services.
Brazilian former strawweight champion Jessica Andrade is one such example, recently revealing she had paid off her debts through the OnlyFans platform – and while Dern said she wouldn’t judge anyone, she ruled out anything similar in her case.
“You see OnlyFans and things like that, I don’t judge those who have it, but it’s not my focus,” said Dern.
“My focus is to represent women and change that idea that the only women that can sell is women that are seen by people as beautiful because, to me, every woman is beautiful, every woman is pretty and everybody puts on a show.”
Dern has submitted four of her six victims in the UFC octagon, but said she had grit to accompany her formidable ground game – pointing to the broken nose she suffered during her unanimous decision victory against Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256 last December.
“There were fights where I didn’t submit [my opponent], but I had my nose broke, I’ve shown guts, blood and everything,” said the Phoenix-born star.
“Do you think I wanted to have my nose broken? You see Nick Diaz, who just fought, broke his nose and didn’t want to fight anymore, he was cool, and I don’t judge him. It was fine for him.
“But you have to be like, wow, you broke your nose and still came back to fight, you’re out there trying to win, that’s not for everyone, you know? People think it’s easy, but it’s not.”Also on rt.com UFC strawweight stunner Mackenzie Dern overcomes apparent broken nose to DANCE in Octagon after victory continues her rise (VIDEO)
Elsewhere ahead of her fight this weekend, Dern has admitted that the idea of potentially being the woman to step up and challenge dominant women’s flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko would be a tempting one.
“The girls are trying, we’re trying, but I’m like, we need someone to fight her. Maybe a jiu-jitsu girl is the one to beat her,” Dern told the media in Las Vegas.
“Who knows, you know? But definitely, I can see myself getting to 125, but as a fit Mackenzie, you know? That idea is getting more and more attractive to me, to go in and try and just make history.”