The mixed martial arts world may not have to wait long for the next Ronda Rousey. Already coming up through the minor leagues is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Mackenzie Dern, one of the most decorated female tournament competitors in history. Her professional MMA record currently stands at 2-0 with two dominating performances, and she hopes to make it 3-0 with a win Saturday March 10th at Legacy Fighting Alliance 6 against Katherine Roy.
With Dern wanting to make it into the UFC by the end of 2017, MMAInterviews.TV caught up with her at the World MMA Awards show to ask her what her goals in the world's biggest promotion were.
"My goal of course is to be a UFC champion," Dern said with a smile. "A lot of people ask me 'What if they make a 125 pound division?' I know for sure I'll keep making up new goals, if I win the 115 division, I'll try to become the 125 champion too. But I think the biggest thing right now is to just live up to everyone's expectations. There's so much hype. I am confident in my ground game. My stand up game is getting there with my team behind me. But I'm not worried about the pressure. I know that I can live up to it. It's just going to make me work that much harder."
Is there any chance she'll switch away from her world class jiu jitsu in favor of striking?
"At least in the training for me, my coaches make me do so many private lessons just training my standup," she said. "Even in sparring, we do sparring just standing up just so I'm not nervous or uncomfortable standing up. But the goal is always to go to the ground. I can't even hide my strategy, everyone knows I want to go to the ground."
"I have a ton of people sending me messages to not fall into the same situation as Ronda, they compare a lot to Ronda that she tried to be a striker when she's a ground person. But I think that jiu jitsu is a lot more evolved than judo. Not that it's worse or better, but it's not just armbars. You defend the choke, we go to armbar. You defend the armbar, we go to omoplata, and it just keeps going and going. So a lot of people respect that, my jiu jitsu, but I'm excited that I always come back and rely on my jiu jitsu."
As for how she'd do in a jiu jitsu match against Ronda Rousey, Mackenzie was polite but realistic.
"I think it would be a fun roll, I think we'd have a lot of good transitions!" she said. "But in the end I think I'd win the round. She's a great athlete, I've fought tons of great athletes. [I'd tap her] maybe two, three times?"