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Being billed as the next Ronda Rousey could be as much a blessing as a curse, but MMA up-and-comer Mackenzie Dern is out to ensure the latter won’t befall her as it did her famous counterpart.

Dern, a 23-year-old native of Phoenix, Arizona, is already capturing the attention of the mixed martial arts world after just two fights and two commanding wins. And she looks to move to 3-0 with a victory over Katherine Roy at Legacy Fighting Alliance 6 this Saturday.

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“My goal of course is to be a UFC champion,” Dern told MMA Interviews. 
“…I think the biggest thing right now is to just live up to everyone’s expectations. There’s so much hype…But I’m not worried about the pressure. I know that I can live up to it. It’s just going to make me work that much harder.”

Dern says her background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has prepared her well for MMA and also brought the inevitable comparisons to Rousey. But that training, she suggests, lends itself to success in MMA and UFC more than Judo did for Rousey.

“Even in sparring, we do sparring just standing up just so I’m not nervous or uncomfortable standing up,” Dern continued. “But the goal is always to go to the ground. I can’t even hide my strategy, everyone knows I want to go to the ground…”I have a ton of people sending me messages to not fall into the same situation as Ronda, they compare a lot to Ronda that she tried to be a striker when she’s a ground person. But I think that jiu jitsu is a lot more evolved than judo…I’m excited that I always come back and rely on my jiu jitsu.”

Dern doesn’t pull any punches when discussing how she might fare in a fight against Rousey either, suggesting that “in the end, I think I’d win the round.”

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