Mackenzie Dern Has No Regrets, Is “Hungrier” After First MMA Loss

Photo/Instagram: @ mackenziedern

Jiu-jitsu world champ Mackenzie Dern logged her first MMA loss since her transition to the sport from BJJ at UFC Fight Night Tampa this month, ending up on the wrong end of a decision against fellow strawweight Amanda Ribas. Fortunately, as the fighter explained to MMA Fighting, professional grapplers compete so often and have so much experience with loss that this “L” isn’t getting her down. Rather, it’s made her that much more excited to get back into the cage.

“I’ve lost many times in my jiu-jitsu career before winning all my titles, so it only makes you hungrier,” she explained. “We have less fights (in MMA), three or four times in a year, whereas in jiu-jitsu you can have three tournaments in a month, so you kind of get used to losing.”

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a new baby and a supportive family of fighters to tend to when you’re trying not to dwell on a defeat.

“I’m at peace. I’m very critical with myself, and I’ve always seen things I had to work on and get better in jiu-jitsu, even when I was winning, and it’s not different this time. There are things I know I did wrong [at UFC Tampa], but also things I did well. But now that I have my daughter. I left the Octagon and my husband handed her to me, and damn, that was a good feeling. No matter what, my daughter is here, my family is here, so let’s keep going. It won’t change a thing. I think that having her, this blessing, helps it not hurt that much,” said Dern.

Dern went on to discuss her errors against Ribas, her first real exposure of the areas outside of grappling Dern needs to tighten if she’ll rise through the ranks at the UFC.

“I found the distance early in the fight, but lost it after the first hard exchange,” Dern said. “She’s a bit longer than me, and when I lost the distance, I started doubting myself, doubting my decisions to close the distance and get punched in the face, you know? It’s normal, it’s something you have to work in sparring and fighting to get used to getting punched in the face again. But I don’t think that’s the reason (I lost). Amanda was able to impose her strategy and technique in the fight. But I regret nothing. I know I could’ve won and people would way, ‘Wow, she won just four months after giving birth,’ so it doesn’t matter to me.”

You can read the full interview between Dern and Guilherme Cruz here.


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