The world’s #1 ranked female jiu-jitsu fighter, Mackenzie Dern, has set her sights on a UFC debut sometime this summer. Dern, who currently fights for Legacy Fighting Alliance, sits at 2-0 in mixed martial arts and has her 3rd professional bout set for March 10th at LFA 6.
At only 23 years of age, Mackenzie’s jiu-jitsu resume is already one of legend. A 2x world champion in both gi and no-gi competition, Dern is also the 2015 ADCC open weight champion, a tournament in which she holds a victory over Gabi Garcia.
While she clearly has the ground game to make her a dangerous opponent, she has the wherewithal to know that her striking still needs work. In a recent interview with flocombat.com, she touched on those shortcomings and her plans going forward.
“The big thing right now is my standup. I’m still a little bit active in jiu-jitsu right now even though they are pushing me to go 100 percent just MMA. It’s so hard for me to leave the jiu-jitsu game and I’m not quite ready to do that. My jiu-jitsu timing is still very good, we are really just working the standup.”
While Dern’s first win in mixed martial arts was a hard fought unanimous decision, her second time in the cage produced a “submission of the year” contender and put her on the MMA world’s radar:
Still an active competitor on the jiu-jitsu circuit, Dern plans on winding things down a bit as she hopes to make her octagon debut.
“Right now I did the Europeans this year. I came back and had a superfight for ‘Fight to Win.’ I would like to do the Pan American Championships, which is one weekend after my upcoming MMA fight so I’m hoping I don’t get injured. Right now I am [ranked] #1 in the world [in jiu-jitsu], so I would like to go into the UFC being #1 in the world. The ranking finishes at the Worlds, then hopefully I can make my debut in the UFC this year, maybe in June or July. I would like to do that.”
Many will point out that fighting in the UFC while not being fully committed could be a slippery slope for such a young fighter. But Dern insists she has her plans well laid out.
“I told myself when I’m in the UFC then I’ll be 100 percent [MMA]. Maybe if I don’t have a fight coming up maybe I’ll do a superfight or do the ADCC, but not doing all these other tournaments I’ve been doing so much. It’s addicting. So addicting.”
But first thing is first. Dern has to put on a good performance against Katherine Roy on March 10th to further stake her claim that the UFC is where she needs to be.
LFA 6 takes place Friday, March 10th, from the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas. The main card airs live on AXS TV starting at 9pm EST.