Phenomenal purple belt Mackenzie Dern of Gracie Humaita hasn’t lost a Worlds since 2007. She won two titles as a juvenile blue belt, two at adult blue belt, and now one purple belt world title, making this her fifth Worlds win. “It still feels good,” Dern says, “If I can get five at black belt, that would be great! But this is one more title and it’s a big title. Everyone trains so hard for it. It shows that my hard work is paying off.”
Dern had four matches in her feather weight division on Friday. She submitted her first opponent with a triangle, beat her second opponent by points, and submitted her third with a choke that put her opponent to sleep. In the final she caught Yasmine Wilson in an armbar, but by that time the score was already 19-0.
Dern says she’s feeling really good and confident in her game. “I train really hard,” she says, “Everybody in the division is so good.” But as much as Dern competes, she says she still gets anxious before her fights. “I don’t get nervous – like butterflies – before a fight,” she says, “But I want to go now. I want to start the match. As soon as I shake the hand, feel the person, and get control of their gi, then I’m relaxed and I feel like I’m just training in the academy. I don’t see or hear anyone else, except my dad and Leticia (Ribeiro), my coaches. My dad is the loudest!”
Dern is moving back to Brazil next Saturday, but will come back to the states for the No-Gi Worlds in November. “I want to keep competing as often as possible,” she says, “I want to thank my sponsors and most importantly, my dad (Megaton) for all the years he’s helped me, my boyfriend (Tanquinho), Leticia Ribeiro, Beatriz Mesquita, the whole Gracie Humaita team, and all the fans who keep me going.”