Mackenzie Dern’s journey to UFC 295 has been marked by more than just her impressive record and current strawweight ranking. The renowned Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion recently disclosed that she navigated a divorce leading up to her victorious bout against Angela Hill in May. Despite securing a dominant win, Dern confessed to facing considerable mental struggles during the tumultuous period.
Now, months after her divorce was finalized, Dern remains entangled in its aftermath. Speaking candidly at the UFC 295 media day, she revealed that a significant portion of her earnings from the upcoming fight with Jessica Andrade would be directed towards settling financial obligations to her ex-husband.
The financial burden adds an extra layer of complexity to Dern’s preparations for the high-stakes matchup at Madison Square Garden. The fighter acknowledged the pressure inherent in her profession, emphasizing the challenges of having to endure both physical and emotional strains while still ensuring financial stability.
“It’s crazy, I have to get punched in the face, and you work so hard, and you do all this, and you have to like pay that much for something,” Dern remarked, highlighting the sacrifices fighters often make beyond the cage. Despite the financial challenges, Dern remains resilient, expressing her commitment to her dream by creating a home gym after her team’s closure and adapting to the changes in her personal and professional life.
"Literally this whole fight, is still paying my ex."— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) November 8, 2023
Mackenzie Dern admits she's still going through a lot of personal turmoil before #UFC295.
Full video: https://t.co/0OA75F9ca3 pic.twitter.com/SK8wZWeupr
Dern’s transparency about her vulnerabilities, both in and out of the gym, adds a humanizing element to her narrative. The world champion in jiu-jitsu acknowledged the struggles of maintaining privacy while striving for improvement, shedding light on the contrast between her perceived prowess and the emotional challenges she faces during training.
As she steps into the octagon with Jessica Andrade, Dern carries a 13-3 record, seeking to improve on her recent 2-2 performance. Ranked seventh in the strawweight division, Dern’s journey goes beyond the win-loss column, showcasing the resilience and determination required to overcome personal and professional obstacles in the demanding world of mixed martial arts.