As UFC 295 approaches, with fight enthusiasts eagerly anticipating the strawweight showdown between Mackenzie Dern and former champion Jessica Andrade at the iconic Madison Square Garden, Dern is not only preparing for a physical battle but also strategically planning for life beyond the octagon.
Mackenzie Dern, a name synonymous with Jiu-Jitsu excellence in MMA, is weaving a narrative that extends far beyond her grappling prowess. In a pre-fight interview with Brett Okamoto from ESPN, Dern revealed her aspirations to build a lasting brand, hinting at future ventures that could redefine her legacy in the sport.
“We’re trying to build a brand… starting to really brand Mackenzie,” Dern shared, her focus clear on the horizon beyond her fighting career. With plans that include a diverse range of merchandise, Dern is not waiting for the final bell to ring before she starts building her future.
“Hopefully we can get like a lingerie line eventually, bikini line, clothes, gi line, but let’s get the belt first,” she added.
Dern’s foresight is a testament to the evolving landscape of MMA, where fighters are increasingly recognized not just for their athletic achievements but also for their marketability and business acumen.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own line… knowing that eventually we stop to fight, you know, and you can’t be getting punched in the face forever,” Dern stated, acknowledging the inevitable transition every fighter faces.
Her approach is reflective of a trend where athletes capitalize on their sports careers to launch business ventures. Ronda Rousey’s transition from Olympic judoka to UFC champion and then to WWE star and actress has paved the way for fighters like Dern to envision a multifaceted career.
As Dern prepares to face Andrade, a formidable opponent known for her power and aggression, she remains grounded in the reality of her sport’s demands and the fleeting nature of athletic prime.
“I think now is the time that we can really be able to try and focus on the brand of Mackenzie,” she said, indicating that her ambitions are as much about her identity outside the cage as her performance within it.
As Dern steps into the Garden, her thoughts are as much on the fight as they are on the future. With a clear vision for her brand and a determination to succeed, she represents the modern MMA fighter — one who is as strategic with their career choices as they are with their fight tactics.