Former world jiu-jitsu champion Mackenzie Dern transitioned into mixed martial arts in July 2016. After winning her first four fights, Dern inked a contract with the all-female fight promotion Invicta Fighting Championships. She made her promotional debut on Dec. 8, defeating former title challenger Kaline Medeiros via submission.
Unbeaten at 5-0, Dern believes she’s ready to compete in the UFC.
“For sure I want to go to the UFC,” the 24-year-old told MMAFighting.com.
“I’m just thinking that I’m ready to go to the UFC because I believe in my ground enough. I know for sure just with my ground that I can beat some of the girls. I think I can beat any of the girls. I believe so much in my jiu-jitsu. I know the reality; any of the girls, they can beat me too if they got one punch on me of course, or maybe they can get me in a submission.”
Dern’s submission game makes her a dangerous opponent for anyone. She’ll have the edge on the ground against almost anyone she faces and she knows it. In her last outing she displayed improved striking and showed that she possesses punching power. She believes that she needs to test herself against UFC-level talent to better her overall skills to become a world champion.
“I feel like I’m ready to go in there to be able to keep growing as a fighter. I believe in my jiu-jitsu. I believe in my stand-up. I believe in my heart and the hard work, so I think I can fight a lot of the girls there. Of course I can win. I can lose, but I think I’m ready for the level. I think the biggest test was the weight cut,” she said.
“I definitely believe that I have jiu-jitsu enough to beat some of the girls in the UFC. I think that I have heart enough to fight the girls in the UFC. I think my stand-up is not the best, but to survive and to maybe make opportunities to get to my ground game in the UFC. I think the biggest thing is that I think that I’m ready to be there to keep evolving as a fighter. I think if I say outside of the UFC too much longer it’s going to be hard for me to evolve to be at the level to be a champion.”
Dern’s in no rush to compete inside the Octagon, but did have a goal of being a UFC fighter by the end of the year. She didn’t make that goal but her next fight could be on mixed martial arts’ biggest stage.
“Of course, I have the goal to fight in the UFC. That’s the main goal to be the UFC champion but everything happens for a reason. I don’t take it wrong. That was my goal to be in the UFC by the end of this year but I don’t see like a problem that if I’m not in the UFC this year. Just try my best. You can’t control everything. Things are like out of my control but I’m doing like the best I can. Hopefully if I fight in March it’s in the UFC.”