To say people are hyped about the arrival of BJJ world champ Mackenzie Dern would be an understatement. This past week you couldn’t surf the net without being inundated with ‘next Rousey’ talk. But there was also another quirky story that also followed Dern into the cage at UFC 222, and that was the subject of her accent.
Dern is from Phoenix, Arizona. She grew up and attended school there. But once she moved down to Brazil to concentrate on her jiu jitsu career, her speech developed that Portuguese lilt we’re all so familiar with in mixed martial arts. Was Mackenzie faking it??? Or are we all looking too much into why a woman surrounded by Portuguese speakers would develop a Portuguese accent?
Dern herself has said Portuguese is her primary language and she thinks and dreams in that language, not English. Maybe that’s why the UFC went ahead and sent former fighter Jorge Gurgel into the cage after her win at UFC 222 as a translator for Dern. To say the internet was perplexed would be an understatement:
WHY IS JORGE GURGEL TRANSLATING FOR MACKENZIE DERN, THIS WOMAN IS FROM FUCKING ARIZONA— Jordan Breen (@jordanbreen) March 4, 2018
So... is English now Mackenzie Dern's second language?— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) March 4, 2018
Wait..... why is there a translator? She speaks perfect English— Zombie Prophet (@ZPGIFs) March 4, 2018
fuck it, i hope dern just leans into it and by her next fight, refuses to speak english at all— Leg Kickin Tacos (@LegKickTKO) March 4, 2018
DERN: Is a, how you say in English, a... hard fightch. She a tough girl, is good strike.— The Naked Gambler (@NakedGambling) March 4, 2018
JOE: Aren't you from Arizona?
DERN: I traina hard for this fightch.
Hey, at least they stopped bothering to translate Joe’s questions after Dern responded in English. But if you were hoping the Internet would stop focusing on Dern’s supposedly shifty level of Brazilian-ness after her first UFC win, kiss that dream goodbye. We eagerly look forward to the inevitable Tommy Toe Hold parody.