Ronda Rousey is without a doubt one of the biggest -- if not the biggest — mixed martial arts (MMA) star in the sport today. Aside from winning inside the Octagon, the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s Bantamweight champion has also been victorious outside of it, landing multiple high-profile photo shoots, blue-chip sponsors and movie deals, among other spoils of face-punching war.
But, according to Ben Henderson, his teammate Mackenzie Dern will be way bigger than "Rowdy" when the dust settles. "Smooth" couldn’t stop singing his MMA Lab teammate’s praises on a recent edition of "The MMA Hour" (via MMA Fighting):
"She will be bigger than Ronda Rousey before Ronda Rousey lost. She's going to be huge. She's going to be big. She has an excellent work ethic. Go look her up, she is a multiple-time jiu-jitsu world champion. She's won ADCC. She's won Abu Dhabi. She's won Worlds. She's the current No. 1 ranked female jiu-jitsu practitioner on the planet. She has an amazing work ethic. She's an amazing athlete. She definitely needs to work on her MMA skills, but her ground game in phenomenal. Any women on the planet goes to the ground with Mackenzie and Mackenzie is going to tap her, or dominate her like she did her first opponent."
Lofty expectations to say the least.
The 23-year old jiu-jitsu phenom — who has won multiple medals in ADCC and World Championship tournaments, including a win over Gabi Garcia — made her successful MMA debut at Legacy Fighting Championship 58 on July 22, 2016, winning via unanimous decision.
With her first win under her belt, Dern will look to build on that momentum to produce what promises to be a long and fruitful career. Eclipsing what Rousey has accomplished, though, will be one tall order. However, the submission wizard seems more than up to the challenge.