UFC Vegas: Mackenzie Dern Explains the Difference Between Losing in MMA and BJJ

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Brazilian Jiu-jitsu ace Mackenzie Dern returns to the octagon this weekend at UFC Vegas. And when she does, she’ll enter her fight off the first loss of her MMA career.

Of course, losses come and go in BJJ, Dern pointed out. You can lose to a girl, and come back and win against someone else the very same night. MMA doesn’t offer that quick rebound, so Dern (7-1) has had time to digest her loss to Amanda Ribas last October.

“It sucks to lose,” Dern admitted, speaking to Cageside Press at the UFC Vegas virtual media day on Thursday. In BJJ, “it’s way more common that you can lose one day in the weight class, and then in the same day, you can come in and win the Absolute division. Maybe even fight the same girl that beat you in your own division.” Things simply move faster in terms of results, Dern explained.

In MMA, the time since her loss has been almost the same amount of time she was pregnant with her daughter. A long time to dwell on a defeat. “I understand, because I lost the fight, [opportunities] go to the people that are winning,” Dern told us. Nothing, however, gives her a fire like not wanting to be in a situation where she lacks priority. “You want to be the person that can fight when you want to fight, ask for fights, and all these things. Definitely, you can lose a lot of credibility and stuff like that. It’s different to go through that in MMA.”

With that in mind, said Dern, “I want to come back on a winning streak and really show all the potential I have.”

Mackenzie Dern’s return to the octagon has been in the works for a while. She was originally set to fight Ariane Carnelossi in April — a bout booked back in January. The coronavirus saw Carnelossi forced out of the fight, replaced by Hannah Cifers. Then the bout was pushed back, due to restrictions, to the end of May.

There are some upsides to fighting at the moment however, Dern suggested. “No one really has their best cardio and gas tank right now,” she said. “So I think it’s a lot more technical fights, best strategy, best technique. Not necessarily the better athlete [wins the rounds]. So I thought this was a better time for me to show my potential.”

Opponent Cifers isn’t exactly known for her ground game, either. So Dern is making no secret that the canvas is exactly where she plans to take this fight.

“The ground is kind of her weakest point, and obviously that’s my strongest point,” Dern observed. “So that’s definitely going to be the strategy, no secret to that. Her hands are pretty heavy, heavy hands.” As long as she avoids the knockout, Dern feels she’s in a good position to pick up the win.

One thing is certain though. After losing for the first time in MMA via a decision, “I don’t want to go to a decision with this fight,” Dern stated.

UFC on ESPN 9 goes down this Saturday, May 30 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, NV. The event airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).

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