Nunes, like Dern, took time away from competition to start a family, and now she’s ready to make that walk once again. Fighting another mom is something that Dern thinks is a good opportunity, for both herself and for Nunes to inspire other women around the world with their determination and passion.
“To be back so soon, I was happy to be able to show that, and when they offered me Nina I was like ‘Man! One more mom coming back pretty soon!’ She will be like six months, I think. And to be on ABC, it’s an open channel so I think women who don’t do MMA will see fighting in a different way, seeing these recent moms back in fighting at the highest level of MMA in the world,” Dern said. “It’s the elite level and we are getting punched in the face, punched in the body, kicked in the body and all these things. All of this besides all the training we put in to be at this level. I think a lot of women will be able to identify themselves with us and it will give them the courage to do everything they want in their life, if it’s MMA or their career or whatever.”
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Dern recognizes that fighting on ABC is a great opportunity for exposure, and to help her rise to the top of the UFC’s strawweight division. Getting to the top has always been Dern’s goal, and she knew that in order to crack the Top 10, and eventually the Top 5, she would need to keep evolving her skill set.
She believes she did just that in 2020.
“I think I was able to show different aspects of my style as a fighter and the growth that I was able to show from one fight to the next,” Dern said. “It was the biggest breaking point of my career and it set me on a place where people see me as a future champ. I think before with a bad weight cut, my pregnancy and my first loss, people kind of were like, ‘She’s in the UFC and she’s taking fights, but she doesn’t have what it takes.’”