has been off the grid since relinquishing the
strawweight crown to Carla
in a forgettable rematch at UFC 274, but the ex-champ
remains one of the biggest names in the strawweight division.

set her sights on “Thug” Rose following a dominant victory
over Angela Hill
in the
UFC Fight Night 223
headliner at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on
Saturday night. Namajunas hasn’t fought MMA since May 2022, but
Dern is aware that she has been honing her grappling skills in
recent months.

“I follow her on social media and stuff, and I saw her do an ADCC
regional or something like that,” Dern said at Saturday’s
post-fight press conference. “I’m a former ADCC champion, so I’m
always happy when I see the MMA girls doing jiu-jitsu. But, for
sure, fighting Rose is a priority of mine right now at this

Dern has won two of her last three Octagon appearances dating back
to 2022 and demonstrated considerable improvement in her standup
and ground-and-pound in her latest bout. Her resume includes other
notable wins over the likes of Tecia
, Virna
and Nina Nunes,
but Namajunas would be her most significant victory.

“I think it would be a great fight, it would be a main event, and a
good test for both of us,” Dern said. “So when I see her training
her jiu-jitsu, I’m like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to be an easy
fight,’ but I think it could be a great fight for the public, and
for us.”

If Namajunas isn’t an option, Dern just wants to face a
highly-ranked opponent in her next bout.

“I would like a rematch with [Xiaonan
], I think she had a great performance with Jessica
[Andrade],” Dern said. “I think it was a really close fight [we
had], so I would like to get that rematch if Rose wasn’t available,
or even Jessica
— who is a former champion, too — but definitely
somebody in the Top 5. I’m prepared for all of them.”

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Mackenzie Dern Targets Future Fight with Ex-UFC Champ Rose Namajunas