Mackenzie Dern Recaps Recent Loss: ‘I learned so much’

Going into her October 2021 main event bout against Marina Rodriguez, jiu-jitsu specialist Mackenzie Dern was riding a four-fight unbeaten streak and knocking on the door of a shot at the UFC strawweight title. Dern, however, would lose a hard-fought decision that night.

In a recent appearance on MMAJunkie Radio, Dern spoke about her loss to Rodriguez and what she took away from it.

Dern recapped the fight with Rodriguez and what she learned:

I could just feel in the fight that she was kind of thinking more long term, like okay let’s go the five rounds, a little bit more strategic-wise…

As soon as the fight finished I learned so much… I had so many good positions, obviously on the ground. But it didn’t register in my mind, oh yeah, the round will finish and we will stand back up again… I wasn’t even thinking too much ahead. I was just thinking in the moment.

Obviously to be the champion you need be able to be good at everything. You need to be able to play the game and be a fighter that you are, obviously trying to finish the fight and things like that. It was really good for me to learn that and feel that.

I think we will fight each other again in the future. Who knows if it will be for the belt… I definitely see us crossing paths again… She complimented me on my striking. Obviously we weren’t happy with the result. I wasn’t happy with how I was standing up… I don’t even have that high of a takedown rate. Most of my takedowns it’s because I fell on my butt or something like that. It was really good for me to learn. I’m excited to see what the future has for me and Marina.

Dern’s biggest frustration and biggest success from the Rodriguez bout:

I think that’s the most that me and my team were so frustrated about. Not because of the loss but just how much I’ve been getting better in the gym and I wasn’t able to show how much I had gotten better in my fight with Marina. I wasn’t really pushing forward as much as I usually push forward. It’s scary for a jiu-jitsu fighter to be in the hitting zone, the zone where you can get punched in the face, it’s scary. So to be able to break that zone, which is what we need to take it to the ground and get close enough, you need to trust your hands… I feel like my hands are what I really trust in and what I really believe in that will help me get the fight to the ground… My striking is what’s helping me be more confident and get more submissions.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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