Mackenzie Dern is a 23-year-old veteran at the world championship. Despite being so young, the 2016 edition will be her 10th appearance in Long Beach.
She debuted at the Worlds in 2007, as a juvenile blue belt. Since them, Mackenzie has been a common sight at the podium in all belt colors.
Last year, on her 3rd appearance as a black belt, Mackenzie finally won her first gold medal at the highest ranking. One thing is missing and that’s the open class gold medal. A fearless competitor, Mackenzie made to the podium in 2015, but wants to go all the way this year.
We talked to her about how she’s getting ready for another challenge at the Worlds.
GRACIEMAG.COM: Your MMA debut is scheduled for July 22, but before that you have your second Worlds as a black belt. How are you able to train for both and maintain the focus on two very different but very important challenges?
Mackenzie Dern: I feel like they are helping each other. Last year, I was training MMA when I won the Worlds and it was one more training per day that I was doing. This year, the only difference is that I have to focus on lot more on my MMA. But I know that there isn’t a time that my Jiu-Jitsu will be more on point than now. The Worlds camp is helping my Jiu-Jitsu stay sharp for my MMA fight! The biggest thing is I just have to be careful when training MMA to not get hurt but I am feeling great!
GRACIEMAG.COM: You have been trying very hard, but was still not able to secure an open class title in the gi on the IBJJF’s most important events, the European, Pan, Worlds. Does that add pressure on you for the 2016 Worlds? What do you think is missing to reach the absolute gold?
Mackenzie Dern: I don’t feel any added pressure because I haven’t won the absolute yet, I actually feel like there is no pressure at all. It’s a personal goal of mine to win, I know it’s possible and I definitely won’t stop trying, but I know it’s difficult with me being a featherweight. Every tournament I am trying to correct details that I think are missing, let’s see if I finally figured it out on the Worlds!
GRACIEMAGSHOP.COM: You compete in the Worlds since 2007, when you entered as a juvenile blue belt. In what way the experiences in these ten years help you to prepare your mindset for another edition?
Mackenzie Dern: I think from competing so much, especially competing at the Worlds, the biggest tournament of the year, I am so used to the pressure and adrenaline. I grow a lot in the tournaments, I have always competed way better than I train and I think that’s because of how much I have competed. Plus, I know what it takes to win and it makes it easier for me to do my camps and go in with a good mindset. I prepared myself the best I could and there is nothing more important for an athlete than his mind and confidence.
Don’t forget to register for the 2016 World Jiu-Jitsu championship.
The final deadline is May 24.
Click here to sign up now.
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