Mackenzie Dern explains how training error played part in first MMA loss

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

This Saturday, at UFC on ESPN 9, Mackenzie Dern will take on Hannah Cifers in an effort to rebound from her first pro MMA loss: a late 2019 decision defeat at the hands of Amanda Ribas.

Ahead of this fight with Cifers, Dern looked back on her loss to Ribas, acknowledging that she made an error in her preparation for the fight.

She says didn’t spar with enough intensity, so when the leather started flying, she was a little unprepared.

“I felt I missed getting hit in the face,” Dern told MMA Fighting. “I’ve obviously sparred before the (Ribas) fight, but haven’t done much of it with small gloves, with partners really trying to hurt you. I did most of it with big gloves, so when I started fighting Amanda and we started exchanging, I was like, ‘Wow,’ and [I] took a step back, and [I] was afraid of getting knocked out or something like that.

“It was hard to close the distance and really work on taking her down, or close the distance to exchange punches, because she was taller than me and had more reach.”

Going forward, Dern intends to place a greater focus on sparring to ensure she’s well prepared for the striking phases of her fights.

“What I really wanted was to spar a lot before my next fight, make my face get used to getting punched,” Dern said. “I’m feeling that’s the tough part in this camp, because I haven’t sparred with a lot of people. But we did everything we could. I have a few training partners, my muay Thai coach, and my dad is here as well.”

“I’m very focused on getting back on track and winning,” Dern added. “No more craziness. I don’t think my career has been that crazy but everybody does. They said I was crazy for coming back so early after pregnancy, that I was fighting every three months, that I was doing MMA and jiu-jitsu at the same time. I guess I’m still part of the crazy group that’s fighting during a pandemic, right? [laughs]”

How do you think Mackenzie Dern will rebound from her first pro MMA loss?