Mackenzie Dern has lofty goals for herself and it starts on Saturday night against Nina Ansaroff.
Dern is set for the toughest test of her career as she’s facing a top-five opponent in Ansaroff. It’s a very intriguing bout between a high-level grappler in Dern and a striker with Ansaroff, but Dern expects her grappling to be too much and submit her early.
“No one goes into a fight unprepared, so I know she’s gonna be on point with her takedown defense, and that’s where Parillo Boxing comes in, just to have me meld everything together: my striking with my takedowns with my ground game,” Dern said to MMAJunkie. “So I think the way to win this fight is the submission. I don’t want to go three rounds again like my last fight even though it was lots of fun. Like I said, I want to try and get to the belt soon, this year hopefully, so the less damage possible, the quicker I can get back into camp. I can keep climbing the rankings and try to get the belt. So I think a submission in the first round is the way to go.”
If Dern does submit Ansaroff in the first round, it would be a massive win for her. She knows she would be a win or two away and hopes a title shot happens in 2021.
“I think one or two fights,” Dern said. “If I win and everything goes good, for me, the next fight I don’t know who it will be – Rose or Zhang Weili or Carla Esparza or Yan Xiaonan. There are a lot of things happening in the top five, but for me I feel ready.
“But I know for sure my coaches want maybe one or two more fights just to be ready to be the champ and not having surprises, show the part,” Dern concluded. “Maybe I can be the champ because I have a lot of heart, and I work hard, but we want to be champ and everyone can see like, ‘OK, she’s meant to be champ.’”