Mackenzie Dern plans to make a “statement” and become the first person to finish Tecia Torres at UFC 273: “She hasn’t fought someone with my ground game”

Mackenzie Dern
Image Credit: UFC

Mackenzie Dern plans to put the strawweight division on notice at UFC 273.

Dern is coming off a decision loss to Marina Rodriguez in a bout which served as her first-ever main event. Before that contest, she was dealing a nagging injury but she is now fully healthy for UFC 273. She will return to the Octagon to take on Tores in a fight that has been talked about for years.

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“Tecia’s name has been coming up for a while, even before our last couple of fights but it never came together,” Dern said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “Finally, to be able to fight her, she has been on a great role, she has fought Weili Zhang, Rose, all the top fighters so it will be a great opportunity for me to make up some mistakes from my last fight and see where I stand and see what I can do in the division. She’s a tough fighter and has never been finished, a lot of her fights go to the decision and she is experienced and I’m trying to get experience so it will be good.”

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Although Dern is coming off a loss, she says she learned a ton from it and believes it has only helped her confidence. She knows what she needs to do to get the fight down to the ground. But, even if she can’t get it to the mat, she now knows her striking is much better and she can trade with opponents.

Ultimately, she knows Torres will be a tough challenge but she believes she will be able to get the fight to the ground and eventually get the submission win.

“I think it is a great fight for me coming off the loss and the injury. She will push the pace but she hasn’t fought someone with my ground game,” Dern said. “The fact that Tecia is shorter than me, is a good advantage for me as she will need to get close while Marina could stay on the outside. I have been working so much on my takedowns and I won’t lose a lot of positions in this one as I did in my last one and I think I get the submission.”

Should Mackenzie Dern finish Tecia Torres, she would be the first person to do so. Torres has fought the likes of Namajunas, Jedrzejczyk, Andrade, Rodriguez, and Zhang and none have finished her, but Dern believes her ground game will be too much, which is why she is so confident.

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“It will be a great statement, she has a bit of a bad phase, but she was fighting all the champs,” Dern explained. “She has evolved so much and is a better fighter now than she was before. Everyone knows how good I am on the ground but with Tecia being so tough to finish, it will be like oh shoot. Hopefully, that intimidates the division a little bit.”

If Dern does get her hand raised on Saturday at UFC 273 she isn’t sure what will be next for her. She says the top of the division is waiting for the title fight but she does think a bout against Yan Xioanan does make some sense.

However, Dern says she will fight whoever but right now the focus is just on Torres.

“I don’t think I will go up in the rankings but the division is on hold for a little bit. Rose is fighting Carla and hopefully Joanna and Weili fight so we will see who has next. I really don’t know, I want to fight someone ranked ahead of me so maybe Yan Xioanan, but it’s just wait and see,” Dern concluded.

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