Mackenzie Dern made her long-awaited Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut last Saturday night (March 3, 2018) at UFC 222 by outlasting Ashley Yoder in the headlining bout of the preliminary portion of the pay-per-view (PPV) event.
Despite not getting the finish she hoped for, Dern improved to 6-0 (1-0 UFC) in her young mixed martial arts (MMA) career. While showing shades of being a tad bit overzealous -- rushing in wildly on occasions with her strikes — Dern says she felt no “UFC jitters,” something many Octagon rookies before have claimed to have.
”I swear, it felt so normal. I was so relaxed,” Dern said on The MMA Hour. via MMA Fighting. “I didn’t even hear people [screaming]. I felt Bruce (Buffer) was talking to me, when he was saying my name, but I was just looking at Ashley, trying to focus on what I wanted to do. I felt like I was meant to be there. Didn’t feel any nervous at all, like UFC jitters. It felt great to be there.”
Making her name as a world class jiu-jtisu practitioner -- with multiple world titles on her mantle — Dern put her grappling career on hold in order to focus on MMA full time. And after getting her first taste of the big leagues, Mackenzie says she knows she made the right decision.
More importantly, she feels she belongs in the big show.
”I felt like I was meant to be there,” Dern said. “I know that each fight I’m gonna be a better fighter, really enforced like, yeah, this is what I’m meant to do. I made the right decision to stop jiu-jitsu now and focus on this, and I’m excited for the next fight. Hopefully I can be at UFC in Rio (on May 12). I’m ready to get this black eye away and get back to training.”
Indeed, Dern stated prior to her fight against Yoder that she hoped to secure a slot at the upcoming UFC 224 event on May 12, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, a place she holds very dear to heart.
And since she escaped from her UFC debut fairly unscathed, putting her on the event — which features a women’s Bantamweight title fight between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington — scoring a spot on the card is very possible.
Any suggestions on who she should face?