Fresh off of her victory at LFA 24 — where she forced opponent Mandy Polk into submission with a rear-naked choke in the first round — Mackenzie Dern (currently 4-0) spoke with the Zebra team to tell us who her biggest inspiration is, what her favorite cheat foods are and what is next in her booming MMA career.
Here are a few things you didn’t know about the ADCC and no gi BJJ (black belt) World Champion.
#1: Although she’s training hard to break into the UFC, she’s still a BJJ fanatic at heart.
Although she finds herself mostly drawn towards MMA at the moment, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will always be her favorite style of fighting.
MD: “I’m drawn towards MMA training now that I am making the transition to fighting, but BJJ will always be my first love. BJJ has given me everything I have in life and I try to represent the sport to the best of my ability.”
#2: She’s been training in BJJ since she was a child.
Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Dern started training at her dad’s academy at the age of five.
#3: Her biggest inspiration is her dad.
A highly decorated competitor himself, Dern’s father, Wellington “Megaton” Dias is not only her biggest source of inspiration, he also coached her from a young age and remains one of her biggest supporters.
#4: She still trains at her dad’s academy.
A normal training routine takes Dern on a morning run followed by hit mitts with her Coach, Eddie Cha.
MD: “In the afternoon, I go to my dad’s BJJ academy and teach classes and get my BJJ training in there. Wednesdays and Saturdays consist of sparring rounds at The MMA Lab.”
#5: She has a big sweet tooth.
Although Dern adheres to a strict diet when training for a competition, she still has a taste for some of the sweeter things in life.
MD: I keep to a strict diet when I’m training for a competition, but I love sweets like candy and pies, LOL.
#6 She’s only trained on Zebra Mats.
MD: “Both my dad’s academy and my MMA gym, The MMA Lab have Zebra Mats. It’s all I’ve ever trained on, both for BJJ and MMA. My favorite Zebra products are the MMA mats. They are the best I’ve ever competed and trained on.”
#7 She enjoys her downtime.
When she’s not rigorously training and competing, she likes to go on hikes, spend time with her dogs and visit her father’s home country of Brazil.
#8: She currently has one goal in mind.
MD: “Become UFC Champion”
Follow Mackenzie Dern on her UFC Journey
Mackenzie Dern is focused on her goal to become UFC champion, and we will be bringing you behind-the-scenes coverage of her training, competition and much more. Look out for her at the Zebra Athletics booth in select upcoming events.