Mackenzie Dern has her sights set on securing a shot at the UFC’s straw weight title before the end of the year. The first step to get there, will be a first round submission over her upcoming foe.
When she first entered the UFC, Dern was looked at as someone who could potentially be the future of the 115lb division. She has world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills that she brought with her into the promotion, along with her undefeated, albeit still inexperienced professional mixed martial arts record.
While things started off well for her, she did suffer a brief setback against Amanda Ribas after coming back from giving birth, as well as her previous struggles on the scales. However these seem to be troubles of the past, as she has returned to form, racking up three straight wins and looking better than ever.
Mackenzie Dern Wants To Submit Nina Ansaroff
Next up, Mackenzie Dern draws Nina Ansaroff at this weekend’s UFC on ABC 2 event. This will be Nina’s first bout since giving birth to a baby girl alongside her partner and champ-champ Amanda Nunes.
Speaking in a recent interview, Mackenzie made it clear that she has a ton of respect for her opponent. That said, she still plans on getting the job done, and doing so in emphatic fashion.
“I was so excited. Mick (Maynard) was like ‘Man, I’ve got a good fight for you, I think you’re going to be happy,’ and I said ‘Who? Who is it?’ and when he said Nina I was like ‘What? Number five?’ That’s exactly what I was asking for,” Dern explained.
“I was surprised. I came back four months after my pregnancy, I think she will be six months after the pregnancy. So I know what it’s like. Of course, every family, every mom is different, they have different experiences and things like that. And I know how tough she is.”
Not only does she plan on beating Nina, but Dern says that she is expecting to earn a fairly quick finish. On the other hand, while she predicts a first round submission, she is prepared for a stand up battle if left with no other option.
“I think it’s going to be more like a submission in the first round. That’s my goal, I want to fight a lot of times this year,” Dern said.
“I definitely want to get in, get out, no broken nose, no injuries again, and be back. I feel like my striking is evolving so much. I don’t feel the pressure the show that I need to show it or anything like that though. If I can get in and submit, I know that at the right time the striking (will come). People are going to see it. When I have to use it, it will come out.”
Title Shot Before The End Of The Year
Mackenzie Dern has made it clear that her goals lie at the top of the strawweight division, which is currently dominated by Weili Zhang. Next, the Chinese born champion is putting her title up for grabs at UFC 261, against former champ Rose Namajunas.
With a win over the number five ranked Nina Ansaroff, Mackenzie is hoping this will propel her into the top of the title picture at 115lb. It is her goal to get a crack at UFC gold before the end of the year.
“Anything can happen. I really wonder where they are going to put me (in the rankings) after this fight, if I win,” Dern said.
“Now I’m at the point where I’ve got my strength training coach. I did two months of just working strength, and I think people are going to see a big difference like physical-wise, how I look and everything. That’s where I want to be, champ material. The champ material is profession in all aspects, the strength training, the striking, the mental part, the ground game.
“Now I’m at the point, because I feel strong now, I can accept the fight. Hey, someone’s hurt? Let me jump in because I’m ready, I’m right there mental-wise. But let’s get past the next opponent first.”
How do you think Mackenzie Dern will do against Nina Ansaroff this weekend? Can she earn a shot at the title and become champion?