Tipped as one of ten fighters to keep an eye on in 2011 (see here), hardly had the season begun and Mackenzie Dern already made her mark. At the European Open that just took place in Lisbon, Portugal, the purple belt daughter of Wellington Megaton stepped up to the highest part of the featherweight and absolute winners’ podium, proving our gamble was not in vain.
Check out the conversation with the champion GRACIEMAG has been following since the intermediate belts:
What’s your assessment of your performance at the European Open and the fact you won the absolute?
I feel everything went right and, thank God, it was my day. I didn’t have any easy matches, the level of Jiu-Jitsu here in Europe is high. After I won the matches in my weight group, I entered the absolute without feeling any responsibility, I was just there to have fun! I had four matches in the absolute, I got the tapout in the first two and won the last two by points. So all in all, I’m really happy to have managed to win these two titles.
What are your main goals for the rest of the year?
I want to be as consistent as possible and compete a lot. My objectives are to qualify for the World Pro, win the Pan and the Worlds. To do so, I’m going to move to Brazil to train at Gracie Humaitá.
How did you feel competing against black belts at the World Pro in Lisbon? Do you feel prepared for such challenges?
I feel it was a great experience. As a purple belt, I had nothing to lose and I learned a lot at the championship. Now I’m going to concentrate on and practice more positions that only black belts are allowed to do and become better prepared for more challenges. I feel my Jiu-Jitsu is coming along well, but I know I still have some flaws to fix. I hope to one day manage to pull off those challenges.
Gabi Garcia is the big name in female Jiu-Jitsu these days” Mackenzie
Which of the girls do you most like watching these days?
I like watching my “sister” Bia Mesquita and Letícia Ribeiro showing their skills. I learn a lot from them. I also feel Gabi Garcia is showing attacking Jiu-Jitsu and thus she’s the big name in female Jiu-Jitsu. I also feel Michelle Nicolini has a game that’s good to watch in championships.