“I can be the champ because I have a lot of heart, and I work hard,” says Mackenzie Dern

mackenzie dern
Mackenzie Dern and Nina Ansaroff

The number 11th UFC women’s strawweight fighter Mackenzie Dern is going to face Nina Ansaroff on UFC Fight Night: Holland vs Vettori. Dern is coming into this fight riding three-win streaks with her last win coming against Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256.

In October 2019, Mackenzie Dern came back inside the Octagon to face Amanda Ribas, just after four months of giving birth to her baby and she faced the only loss of her MMA career in this fight.

Dern’s opponent Nina Ansaroff is also coming into this fight after giving birth to her first baby and Mackenzie Dern believes this will impact the performance of Ansaroff a little bit for sure.

In her latest interview with MMA Junkie, Dern says, “I don’t think it’ll be a deciding factor like to win or lose, but I definitely think timing-wise and even just confidence-wise, I think she can be the most confident person ever because I know what it’s like.”

“When you have a baby, you feel like you’re Wonder Woman, you feel great. But you don’t know how much better you’re gonna be 20 months from now like myself, for example. My daughter, she’ll be 2 in June, so when I fought four months after pregnancy, I felt I 100 percent did the best I could with everything I could at the time.”

“But I had no idea how much of a better athlete I’ll be 20 months later. So I have an idea of what she’s going through, and I think the timing too. To be back 100 percent, getting punched in the face with four-ounce gloves, it’s different.”

“Just being in the ring, in the fight, you get that feeling back. So I think she’s such a dangerous person and if there’s any time to fight her, it’s now, and I’m proud of her. I’m proud that she’s back fighting and us two having this fight as moms.”

Mackenzie Dern will be looking for a finish in this fight too

Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern is the former number 1 IBJJF competitor and all her stoppage wins in MMA came via submission. She further added that she will be looking for one more stoppage victory in this fight.

Dern added, “I think it’s typical striker vs. grappler, I prefer it like that. I think when it’s striker and grappler, the striker is way more fish out of the water, so it’s a little bit easier for me to throw a lot of submissions, attacks and things like that.”

“Maybe they can defend one or two, but when they don’t have a really big background on the ground, you can end up catching them sooner or later. But Nina, she’s a little bit different than a regular striker because her takedown defense is so good.”

“She has a really high takedown defense. She has good reflexes and things like that, so I’m hoping her timing is a little bit off on that, but I doubt it.”

Mackenzie Dern will be looking for her title run in 2021

Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern

The top of the strawweight division is currently booked and Dern believes with a win against Nina Ansaroff she will look forward to her title run in 2021. She added, “I think one or two fights,”

“If I win and everything goes good, for me, the next fight I don’t know who it will be – Rose or Zhang Weili or Carla Esparza or Yan Xiaonan. There are a lot of things happening in the top five, but for me I feel ready.”

“But I know for sure my coaches want maybe one or two more fights just to be ready to be the champ and not having surprises, show the part. Maybe I can be the champ because I have a lot of heart, and I work hard, but we want to be champ and everyone can see like, ‘OK, she’s meant to be champ.’”

Also Read: Jessica Andrade plans to win the women’s flyweight title against Valentina Shevchenko then challenge the winner of Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas.

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Shivansh Thakur is a part of the FirstSportz UFC team. Previously, he worked in Sports4all for around 9 months. Along with this, he is a national medalist and black belt in Judo.