Dana White believes Mackenzie Dern looked as good as she ever has this weekend.
Dern and Hill faced off in Saturday’s UFC Vegas 73 main event, with Dern winning a unanimous decision. Originally set to fight at UFC Charlotte the week prior, the UFC pushed the bout back after the original main event — a women’s bantamweight fight between Raquel Pennington and Irene Aldana — fell through. And White couldn’t be happier with how it all worked out.
“So badass,” White said of Dern at the post fight press conference. “I’m so glad that’s the fight we moved to the main event here tonight. Let me start with, first of all, Mackenzie Dern looked unbelievable tonight. So aggressive. I don’t know what you guys thought, but I thought this was going to be one of those fights were Angela Hill came out, stand-up, try to take to her, and Mackenzie was going to do everything in her power to try and take it to the ground and submit her. To see Mackenzie’s standup, the punches, the knees, actually hurting Angela Hill, who is tough as nails.
“Then on the flip side, Angela Hill, who is so tough and durable, getting into these positions, armbar twice, stayed out of it, gets hit with that big knee then gets taken down and still has the wherewithal to stay out of submissions. It was a badass fight. It was as good of a main event as you could ever hope for.”
Unsurprisingly, the bout took home Fight of the Night honors, with both Dern and Hill earning an extra $50,000 for their troubles. But despite how “badass” the fight was, it wasn’t particularly close. Dern dominated the action, hurting Hill on the feet several times and running roughshod over Hill on the ground, repeatedly taking mount and back mount, and hammering “Overkill” with nasty ground and pound. In the end, Dern took a wide decision, with one judge give her three 10-8 rounds, and the other two giving her two 10-8 rounds, in arguably her best performance in the octagon.
Afterward, the former BJJ world champion called for a fight with former two-time champion Rose Namajunas — and while White didn’t commit to that matchup, he said that Dern is in for a big opportunity following that performance.
“It’s a fun fight too,” White said of Dern’s callout of Namajunas. “I think Mackenzie is in a really good position after tonight’s performance. She’s never looked meaner than she did tonight. She came out on a mission. She looked like she was in great shape, she fought hard for five rounds, her standup was on point, she hurt Angela Hill several times with her standup and was all over her on the ground. Other than pulling off a knockout or a sub, she couldn’t have had a better performance than tonight, so I think anything is possible for her.”
The win moved Dern to 8-3 in the UFC and marked her fifth performance bonus. The 30-year-old Brazilian-American fighter is currently the No. 9 ranked strawweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings.