15th ranked UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern earned a Performance of the Night bonus on Saturday night at UFC VEGAS 11 for submitted Randa Markos with an armbar in the first round. That was the Brazilian’s second submission win in a row (she beat Hannah Cifers by kneebar in May).
After her win over Markos, Dern spoke to the media about her performance and what it means for her going forwards in the flyweight division.
“I definitely think I’m a contender,” said Dern (ht MMA Fighting). “But I have so much to get better and so much to evolve, and I’m so excited to try all these new things and be so complete as a fighter. I think any person they give me I’m going to show something new.”
Atop the UFC’s 115 lb division is the undefeated Zhang Weili, who won the belt from Jessica Andrade last year and defended it in an epic contest with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in March. Zhang is expected to face former champion Rose Namajunas next, but a formal bout and date is yet to be announced.
Dern came to pro MMA in 2016 after a stellar, and multi-gold medal winning, career in BJJ. After bouts in LFA and Invicta, she joined the UFC in 2018. Her debut was a split decision win over Ashley Yoder.
Next up she beat Amanda Cooper by rear naked choke. That bout was at catchweight due to Dern missing weight by seven pounds. Over a year later Dern returned to fight Amanda Ribas at UFC on ESPN+ 19 last October. She lost that fight by unanimous decision; that was the first loss of her career.
But with back-to-back wins now under her belt during the UFC COVID-19 era, the 27-year-old said she was eager to get another fight in before the end of 2020. Dern also remarked that she hoped her recent performances showed people that she is now taking her MMA career “serious”.
“I hope that people are kind of like, ‘OK, she’s here to make some noise and be a problem in the division.”