Mackenzie Dern earned her second straight submission stoppage in the UFC’s strawweight division on Saturday. That came opposite Randa Markos, a veteran of the promotion at this point.
Dern (9-1) says she’s a different fighter these days. Really since the birth of her daughter. “I’m making weight easy all the time, focused,” she suggested, speaking backstage following UFC Vegas 11. “I’m definitely good energy, I’m not so much like, ‘hey, party girl!’ anymore. I’m taking this serious.”
With that, Dern hopes she’s shown people that she’s ready to make some noise in the division. She certainly has done that, frankly, with her last two submissions. Back in April, she secured the first ever kneebar submission for women in the UFC. This time out, it was a slick looking arm-bar against Markos.
Things didn’t start out so well for Dern. She slipped right off her opening kick, landing unceremoniously on her backside. Yet Markos, for some bewildering reason, opted to go to the ground with her. Exactly where Dern wanted to be.
“For sure I thought it was amazing. But I was shocked. I definitely think that most of the people would be like ‘stand up,'” admitted Dern. “I like fighting in the Apex, it’s smaller, it’s a smaller ring, octagon. So I was so surprised, especially when she came into my guard, almost into a triangle.”
When Dern recognized that Markos wasn’t trying to stand up, or defend properly, she realized that “I think the submission is going to come.” And sure enough, it did, although she wasn’t sure Markos would actually tap.
“I didn’t think I was going to lose it, but I thought ‘man is she going to let it dislocate?'” Either way, Dern added, “I was going to keep going.”
In fact, Dern added later, “I thought it was hyper-extended already.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 11 post-fight press conference with Mackenzie Dern above.