Mackenzie Dern explains callout of Rose Namajunas, open to matchup with Jessica Andrade


After the most complete performance of her career, Mackenzie Dern is eyeing a matchup with a former UFC champion — with Rose Namajunas at the top of the list.

Following her dominant unanimous decision win over Angela Hill in the main event of UFC Vegas 73, Dern called out Namajunas for a matchup later on this year. With the future of “Thug Rose” a bit up in the air, it is unknown when Namajunas will return to the octagon. She told MMA Fighting in a 2022 interview that she wanted to put on some muscle and compete in some grappling matchups before putting the MMA gloves back on.

If Namajunas decides she’s ready to return to fighting, Dern says she’ll be ready.

“For sure, I follow her on social media and stuff, and I saw her do an ADCC regional [tournament] or something like that,” Dern told reporters at the UFC Vegas 73 post-fight press conference. “I’m a former ADCC champion, so I’m always happy when I see the MMA girls doing jiu-jitsu. But, for sure, fighting Rose is a priority of mine right now at this moment.

“I think it would be a great fight, it would be a main event, and a good test for both of us. So when I see her training her jiu-jitsu, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to be an easy fight,’ but I think it could be a great fight for the public, and for us.”

Dern was able to bounce back from a decision loss to Yan Xiaonan at October’s UFC Vegas 61 event, and has now flip-flopped wins and losses over her four most recent bouts.

Should Namajunas not be available, Dern would like to run back one of her recent losses, or test herself against another former strawweight queen.

“I would like a rematch with Yan, I think she had a great performance with Jessica,” Dern said. “I think it was a really close fight [we had], so I would like to get that rematch if Rose wasn’t available, or even Jessica Andrade — who is a former champion, too — but definitely somebody in the top five. I’m prepared for all of them.”

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