Mackenzie Dern is without a doubt one of the best grapplers in women’s mixed martial arts (MMA), winning six fights in her combat career via submission. And that’s not even counting her numerous conquests in the competitive world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
But Dern is not a one-trick pony, as evidenced by her performance against Virna Jandiroba last Saturday night (Dec. 12, 2020) at UFC 256 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Indeed, Dern and Jandiroba spent a good portion of the bout going strike-for-strike, with Mackenzie winning the majority of the exchanges, helping her win a unanimous decision.
It’s Dern’s hope that she showed the rest of the Strawweights that standing with her is a dangerous game to play.
“I think that the girls in the Top 10 will watch this Jandiroba fight and think that striking is the key to beat, because Jandiroba is a grappler and striking is her weakness,” Dern said in an interview with UFC Brasil (via Bloody Elbow). “It was a close fight. The only thing I’ll keep working on is my striking, so if they think my striking is bad, it’s getting better pretty soon.
“They’ll have a surprise,” she continued. “I wanted to be respected on the feet. I’m very happy with my performance, I showed it’s dangerous to stand with me. I have heart. It’s hard to take me down, but I have no problem staying on the feet if I need to. I don’t think anyone will want to fight me on the ground.”
The win was Dern’s third straight after suffering the first loss of her MMA career at the hands of Amanda Ribas in Oct. 2019. Currently ranked No. 11, Dern says she envisions herself fighting for the 115-pound title sometime in 2021.
“I’m very happy with my 2020. I may fight for the belt by the end of 2021. Of course, I wanted to fight someone ahead of me in the rankings. I’m in no rush to fight in January or February, but I’ll keep on training in case I need to fight on short notice,” she added. “Maybe I’ll fight again in March or April. Let’s see how the ranking changes. Then it’s easier to see what’s a good fight for me.”
Perhaps a win against this talented striker can get her one step closer to that goal.