Despite being a Jiu Jitsu master and dominating on the ground, Dern has failed to secure a submission in each of her last two appearances, despite putting both Marina Rodriguez and Tecia Torres in extremely vulnerable positions.
While the 29-year-old strawweight contender isn't suddenly doubting her ability on the ground, Dern admits to making mistakes by displaying a little too much sportsmanship.
“They’re tough. These are the best of the best,” Dern told The Fighter vs. The Writer about her level of competition. “We’re not playing here. These are former champions, champions, and they’re not going to tap because they feel pressure. I feel like with Tecia, I’m on the kimura and I’m doing it, I feel like 98 percent of the people would tap. You have to be a little bit mean like just rip it. Maybe they’ll tear their shoulder and have to have surgery or something like that. Of course, that’s not my goal but we’re all adults here. They’re going to try to hurt me.
Because she has so much experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Dern has spent a significant portion of her MMA career trying to improve the other aspects of her game to match what she can already do in grappling.
Dern is proud of the work she's put in to become a complete fighter, but learning every other aspect of the sport while ignoring her grappling may have cost her those recent submissions.
She promises that if Yan Xiaonan gets stuck in similar bad spots as Rodriguez or Torres at UFC Vegas 61, her opponent will either tap out or be forced to take a limb back home to California with her.
“I lost that timing to get that submission and not letting it get away so definitely, I’ve been working on that for this fight,” Dern said. “I guess being a little bit meaner and hey, we all signed up for this and we’re on a different level now. I’m excited.”
Give us your thoughts if you think Mckenzie Dern can pull off a submission victory at UFC Vegas 61!