Brazilian jiu-jitsu star Mackenzie Dern claims to be more and more skilled in the striking department. Paired up against fellow submission artist Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256, the BJJ world champion is ready for a full-on grappling exchange, but will not shy away from a stand-up battle, too.
In an interview with Ag Fight, Mackenzie explained that her time spent with boxing coach Jason Parillo brought her more confidence in her striking. That newly found ability might come in handy against Jandiroba, Dern thinks, especially if their grappling skills end up cancelling each other out.
“That’s the best camp I’ve ever had,” Dern said. “Jason Parillo brought in some undefeated professional boxers and they all came here to train with me. I’ve sparred with big girls and men. I can deal with any kind of weight, height and strength. I’m grateful for everything. I do think this is going to the ground. It’s our strong suit. I don’t think we’ll want to hit the ground at first. We’ll be strong and one might cancel out the other. I’m sure she’s training her striking, just like me. We want to be the best fighters in the world, so we must evolve in every aspect.”
“The fight will have a little bit of everything,” Dern continued. “It’ll get people’s attention and we’ll show all of our weapons to the UFC and the fans. I’ve fought more on the top, but Virna has more fights than me overall. She has a better stance, she pressures well. I can’t tell about her striking, I’ve seen too little of it. I’ve been training it everyday, though. I’m comfortable. If it hits the ground, it won’t be because I wanted to. I’m comfortable on the feet and if she wants to take me down, it’s over. We’ll fight there.”
Currently on a two-fight winning streak, Mackenzie Dern (9-1) tapped out both Hannah Cifers and Randa Markos, in May and September of this year. Her sole loss happened in October 2019, when she dropped a unanimous decision to rising prospect Amanda Ribas.
Now, Mackenzie Dern is expected to take on Virna Jandiroba at UFC 256, on December 12, at the UFC Apex, in Las Vegas. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a flyweight title fight between the champion, Deiveson Figueiredo, and top contender Brandon Moreno.
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