Mackenzie Dern will take on Yan Xiaonan in the main event of UFC Vegas 61 this Saturday night (Oct. 1, 2022) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada in search of her second straight win. With another victory, Dern can climb up the rankings, where she currently sits at No. 5 in the women’s Strawweight division.

And while most top contenders would be clamoring for a shot at the division title, Dern is okay with taking another fight before fighting for UFC gold.

“I think if I have a dominant performance, (a former champion) would be a next good step for me,” Dern said during a recent media day via MMA Junkie. “I don’t want to fight exactly for the belt, I mean, I’m not going to be the person that says, ‘No. No. I don’t want a title fight.’ If they offer it, maybe we’ll take it,” she added before saying she’d prefer to face another top contender, first.

“But for me, if I had a choice, I would like to do one more fight against a former champion – Rose Namajunas, Jessica Andrade, maybe even the loser of Zhang Weili and Carla Esparza. I think that would be a good test for me. And if I beat a former champion, then I can fight the real champion.”

As it stands, Carla Esparza is the champion of the division and will defend her belt against the ex-title holder, Zhang Weili, in the co-main event of UFC 281 on Nov. 12, 2022. After that, the next title shot should be going to Marina Rodriguez, who is ranked No. 3 and is on a four-fight win streak with wins over both Yan and Dern.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 61 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

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