Women’s strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern is headed for her sixth UFC Apex apperance next Saturday. Paired up against Yan Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu blackbelt laments not being able to fight in front of a crowd once again, but plans to make the best of it.
In an interview with Combate, Dern revealed how she asked UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard to allow her to fight somewhere in which she could have a crowd, but to no avail. However, now that the event has been made private, the grappler says she is even more motivated to put on an impressive performance.
“Of course I’d like to fight in a main event in front of a crowd. When we were closing the deal, that was one of the things I kept asking Mick Maynard for. I have fought in the Apex five times, then I went back to Florida, where they had a crowd. I was able to feel that nice sensation of fighting in front of a crowd again. But he told me ‘No, that’s all we have’, And now it even became a private card.
“It has only made me more motivated, though. “Dern said. “People want a show, so I’ll give them one. It’s part of my job. It’s another hardship for me to overcome. That’s nice, right? We don’t evolve without adversity, so I’m happy,”
Against an effective striker such as Xiaonan, Dern knows she must be careful not to get caught too many times. Nonetheless, the Brazilian believes her opponent’s style could even favor herself, since an aggressive approach could make things easier for Mackenzie to take Yan down.
“If she’s aggressive, I’m sure I’ll take some shots, because people want to take off your head. I’m ready, though. Everyone knows I can take a punch. It’s not the best thing, of course. I want to leave the fight with no injuries, but that’s what I’m here for. I’ve trained for this, for a war. If she comes at me, that’s actually better for a grappler like me. It makes my job easier, to score a takedown.”
In her last outing, Dern (12-2) scored a split decision win over Tecia Torres, back in April. The victory made the 29-year-old bounce back from a unanimous decision defeat to fellow contender Marina Rodriguez, in October 2021.
Now, Dern is expected to take on Xiaonan at UFC Vegas 61’s main event, on October 1. The co-main event is scheduled to feature a lightweight bout between Randy Brown and seasoned veteran Francisco Trinaldo.