Mackenzie Dern aims for end of year title fight, ‘I’m ready for the top girls’

Mackenzie Dern
Image via @mackenziedern on Instagram (photographer not listed)

Top strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern picked up the biggest victory of her career against Nina Nunes at UFC Vegas 24. Now, she’s ready to go all the way to the top.

With three big wins in 2020, Dern extended her winning streak to a strong four in a row, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt now envisions fighting for gold at the end of 2021.

“I’m ready for the top girls, but maybe fight for the belt, maybe at the end of the year,” Dern told ESPN (via MMA Fighting). “A couple more fights, because the belt you want to be 100 percent, and I’m not 100 percent on what I need to do.

“I just need to be 100 percent on the go time, and that’s being able to be calm and to think. I’m getting there, but a first-round submission, you don’t really get to see those other parts. But I know that even if I submit my next [opponents] in the first round, I want to know that when I fight the champ, I’m ready even if I go the whole five rounds.”

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On April 24 at UFC 261, the strawweight title will be on the line for the first time since March 2020. Reigning champion Zhang Weili looks to successfully defend her title for the second time against Rose Namajunas. After defeating the No. 5 ranked contender in Nunes, Mackenzie Dern has vaulted up the contendership ladder and taken her spot.

A consistent submission threat, seven of Dern’s 11 career victories have resulted in her opponents tapping out. Now sitting ahead of her in the official rankings are the likes of Carla Esparza, Yan Xiaonan, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and the aforementioned Namajunas.

“I don’t know, maybe a lot of girls won’t even want to fight me,” Dern said. “Maybe the less girls want to fight me, the champ will want to fight me.”

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM