Mackenzie Dern is one of the best female grapplers on the planet but she’s decided to change her grappling style ahead of her next MMA fight. She’s currently booked to compete against Angela Hill at UFC on ABC 4 on May 13th, 2023 and she’s looking to make that final push towards a title-shot with a win there. Dern started out her combat sports career as a BJJ competitor and won both an ADCC and IBJJF world championship, quickly establishing herself as one of the top athletes in the sport.
Mackenzie Dern started the transition to MMA all the way back in 2016 and she found that her elite grappling was working wonders in the cage. It took her all the way to the UFC and saw her put together an 11-1 professional record with 7 submission finishes. She was comfortably in the top half of the UFC strawweight rankings at that point in 2021 but since then she has gone 1-2, with each fight going to decision.
According to Dern, she’s taken lessons from those losses and intends to apply them in her upcoming fight against Hill:
“I’ve corrected a lot of things… I’ve learned so much from my last fight, it was a close fight. But I think that I’m going into this fight with a lot more (understanding of) the rules. I understand that MMA has rules to it, that it’s not just about “submit, submit, submit” and “finish, finish, finish”. It’s much more about winning each round, and the submission comes as a consequence of all that. So, (I am) a little bit smarter as a fighter now.”
She has also explained that adapting her grappling style to suit the format of MMA better has meant that fans will see a slightly different version of Mackenzie Dern on the ground at UFC on ABC 4:
“I think the most important lesson is just not to rely too much on, like: “I’m going to get the submission in the next transition.” Like, hold the position, don’t lose the position. Don’t think: “The next one, next one, next one…” I’ll go for an Armbar and stay on the Armbar. And if I don’t get it, at least I’ll stay on top and win the round.”
The full interview with Mackenzie Dern where she explains how and why she’s changed her grappling style ahead of her next MMA fight against Angela Hill was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of The Schmo: