- Mackenzie Dern was reduced to tears as she apologized for her decision loss to Xiaonan Yan at UFC Vegas 61
- The 29-year-old admitted she failed to capitalize on the ground
No. 5 women’s strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern came in prepared for a five-round war with fellow top contender Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61. The bout did go the distance but unfortunately for Dern, it was Yan who got the judges’ nod via majority decision.
Addressing the devastating loss, a tearful Dern apologized to her fans and team on social media.
According to the 29-year-old, Yan was a “tough” opponent and though she did her best, she failed to secure the W for her supporters.
“I just want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who cheer for me. I messed up, and Yan did so good. She’s tough. She’s really tough.
Nevertheless, Dern vows to bounce back stronger and finally be “a champion one day.”
“I’m learning, you know. I’m learning on the spot, and I’m going to be a champion,” said an emotional Dern. “I’m going to be a champion one day. I’ve just got to learn. I tried my best. I really tired. I just need to get better… I’ll be back. I’ll be back stronger.”
Failed on the ground
In her backstage interview after the fight with ESPN MMA, Dern admitted that she wasn’t able to do the things she had planned for en route the bout. The Arizona native was certain she had “the best jiu-jitsu” in the division but sadly, she failed to dominate Yan on the ground despite being able to take her down twice.
“I didn’t do what I came here to do. My goal was if I got it to the ground, I should be finishing it, you know,” Dern began. “I have the best jiu-jitsu, I believe, in the women’s division. So, I had a lot of opportunities to finish and she was just the better fighter than me I just feel like I’ve been getting so better and it’s just sad to not to be able to show it in the fight. I have so much to grow and it’s all part of the journey…I’m sorry if I made anyone sad, you know, with my performance. I know so many people believed in me and I believed in myself but it’s part of the game.”
Mackenzie is likely to lose her spot in the 115-pound division’s top five. On the other hand, Yan has ended her two-fight skid and is now edging closer to a title shot.