Mackenzie Dern is focused on evolving as an MMA fighter. But that does not mean competitive BJJ is a thing of the past. Over little more than a week, she will have competed in both sports. This Sunday the 23rd, she will don the gi to take part in the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam in Tokyo, still fresh off her win last Friday against Montana Stewart at Legacy FC 61 in Dallas.
Just after her submission win in her second MMA bout, the 23-year-old said: “I was very happy to get a sub for the first time in MMA. I know I have the Jiu-Jitsu to submit any opponent, but the hardest part is being able to create opportunities for the submission to happen. That comes through combinations on the feet and takedowns, so I was happy to improve in those parts.”
Dern already feels a difference in how she performed this time compared to her debut against Kenia Rosas in July: “I felt very good in that fight, showed plenty of control and sank good positions, despite the lack of the submission. This time I’ve learned that what’s most important is calm, being patient in the positions.”
Dern’s third MMA match will also likely be her third in this semester: “I’m talking to Legacy about my next fight, and maybe it will take place on December 2. We’re still evaluating it; I don’t want to be hasty, but I want to feel the adrenaline of fighting again soon.”
Trip to Japan
The weekend will be one for revisiting competitive BJJ. A champion in the main tournaments of the sport throughout 2015, including the Worlds and the ADCC, she is in the Japanese capital for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam. “It’s so good to know that I will fight and be in no risk of getting knocked out, cut or getting my nose broken…” she says with a laugh. “I’m anxious to fight BJJ again, especially in Japan, a place that’s always really cool to compete in. I always want to hone my BJJ, and doing that in competitions, against very tough girls, is always better.”