“My Role Is Just Trying to Inspire Women” – Mackenzie Dern On Losing Sponsors After Pregnancy

Published 10/08/2021, 1:18 PM EDT
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 11: Mackenzie Dern poses on the scale during the UFC 256 weigh-in at UFC APEX on December 11, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


UFC strawweight fighter Mackenzie Dern will enter the octagon to face Marina Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 194 on October 9, 2021.

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A seven-fight UFC veteran, Dern, in early 2019, announced to the world that she was pregnant. She was expecting her first child with her husband, Wesley Santos. During that time, she revealed she lost a lot of followers on social media. Dern even lost a couple of sponsors, but it only motivated her more to do better, according to her.

During an interview, Mackenzie said, “The pregnancy was such a surprise and such a blessing, but when I announced it in February 2019, I lost 50,000 followers on Instagram instantly. Obviously, there were people following me who were just thinking, Oh, she’s a hot girl that fights. And the assumption is that if you get pregnant, you’re not coming back—or if you do, you’re going to be soft inside.”

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Mackenzie opened up more in a recent interview about her trying to be an inspiration for women and also about losing sponsors while she was pregnant. Dern, in the interview, said, “I understand that we’re a more man-based sport. My role is just trying to inspire women to identify more of themselves in my story.”

“Sponsors? Hey, it’s business. It’s money. I understand not gonna be in the media, not gonna be in those things. But now I think they’re probably, like, Oh, maybe we shouldn’t have done that,” she added.

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Mackenzie Dern – Comeback and the upcoming matchup

Dern made her MMA debut in 2016 and was 5-0 in her career before the UFC signed her. Since joining the promotion, she has won six of her seven fights. Her only loss came against Amanda Ribas at UFC Fight Night 161. Since the defeat, Dern has won four fights on the trot, the latest one coming in April 2021, against Nina Nunes. She has a 12-1 record in her career, out of which seven wins have come via submissions.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 19: Mackenzie Dern celebrates after her submission victory over Randa Markos of Iraq in their strawweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September 19, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Mackenzie Dern will look to keep her winning streak alive on October 9, 2021, when she faces number sixth-ranked strawweight Marina Rodriguez.

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Marina, just like Dern, has lost only once in her career. Marina, though, has fought five more times and will pose the toughest challenge to Dern yet. Rodriguez will have a two-inch reach advantage over Mackenzie and try to keep the fight on the feet. Rodriguez is on a two-fight win streak and will be a formidable opponent for Dern to get past.

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One thing that can cause problems for Dern is that Rodriguez has won six of her 17 fights via knockout, and that is somewhere Mackenzie struggles. She has a striking accuracy of 39 percent, which is one of the worst in the division. Dern will try to take the fight to the ground, and that will be her safest bet.

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What do you think of Mackenzie’s journey? How will the fight look, and who, according to you, has the advantage? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

60 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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