Mackenzie Dern had a feeling her next fight would be a main event.
Dern submitted Nina Nunes in the first round back in April. After that, she was offered two short-notice main event fights. However, they never came to fruition but Dern had a feeling once Rodriguez beat Waterson she would headline a card opposite the Brazilian.
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“My first main event, I’m so excited, this is a big step in my career… I thought so, they had mentioned it,” Dern said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “They offered the main event against Marina on July 31. They also mentioned taking the main event against Michelle Waterson if Marina couldn’t fly out because of the pandemic. I saw a couple of interviews with Dana saying some cool things about me. I thought a main event would be coming soon.”
Against Rodriguez, Dern is well aware she has to be careful on the feet as she knows the Brazilain has KO power. However, since working with Jason Parillo, Dern believes her striking has gotten much better which gives her a ton of confidence ahead of this fight.
“As the grappler, I think this is a great fighter for me. If we can take a couple of punches and take it to the ground, it’s a better fight for the grappler,” Dern explained. “Nina was that too, Nina had a little bit more background on the ground than Marina… It’s a good matchup. I can’t make a mistake and that’s good because this is my time to test myself because when you fight for the belt, you really can’t make mistakes.”
Although Mackenzie Dern says her striking has gotten better, she knows she has to take Marina Rodriguez down in order to win at UFC Vegas 39. If she can get the fight to the mat, Dern is confident she can find the finish.
“I definitely know the way to win is to get it to the ground. If I can get it there hopefully I can get a submission or a TKO,” Dern said. “The plan is to take it to the ground and I have 25 minutes to do that, so that’s a goal… I think I need one more submission to have the most submissions in the women’s division. But, I have never had a TKO before, so maybe I try for that.”
If Dern gets the fight to the ground and finishes Rodriguez as she believes she will eventually find the stoppage. If the stoppage comes, Dern believes she could very well be fighting for UFC gold next.
Yet, Dern also isn’t opposed to taking another fight. She says she would be open to a number one contender fight against Esparza next or whoever next.
“Just with the UFC, if you say no or hold out you can get skipped and passed by. I think if I have a great performance, almost flawless I can go straight to the belt. I do want to get the belt. But, if I see some things I need to work on, then I wouldn’t mind having another fight before the belt,” Dern concluded.
Do you think Mackenzie Dern will beat Marina Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 39?