Mackenzie Dern On Being Too Respectful With Submissions: “I’ll Have To Be A Bit Meaner”

Mackenzie Dern On Being Too Respectful With Submissions: “I’ll Have To Be A Bit Meaner”

Mackenzie Dern is one of the best BJJ specialists in the history of the UFC. However, despite being more dominant on the ground than her previous two opponents – Marina Rodriguez and Tecia Torres – Dern failed to secure a submission… Even though she had them in disadvantageous positions.

She spoke about what happened in these two matches for “The Fighter vs. The Writer“:

With Marina and Tecia, I got in good positions to submit them, with both of them. With Marina, I got the Omoplata on her back and I didn’t finish the position. With Tecia, I had a Kimura and a Leg Lock and I didn’t finish.
Definitely even with a loss and a win, I’m learning something. I need to get my timing better.

I think I lost a little bit with my adjustments. I’m not as tight on my timing with submissions, which is my strength.
These are positions that if I get to these positions, Omoplata or the Kimura, I shouldn’t be losing it or I shouldn’t be not submitting.

Dern believes that she is being “too respectful” when it comes to letting go of a submission. And that just doesn’t work at the level of competition she’s at:

They [her opponents] are tough. These are the best of the best. We’re not playing here. These are former champions, champions, and they’re not going to tap because they feel pressure.

I feel like with Tecia, I’m on the Kimura and I’m doing it… I feel like 98 percent of the people would tap. You have to be a little bit mean, like just rip it.
Maybe they’ll tear their shoulder and have to have surgery or something like that. Of course, that’s not my goal but we’re all adults here. They’re going to try to hurt me.

She explains how she cannot give her opponents a chance to tap anymore:

It’s just ingrained from memory like I need to do it. I need to be technical to get the position but I’m not going be like: “OK, give her a chance to tap.” No, you need to just go.

She’s resisting, she knows she’s in a bad position. These are things that I’m thinking about during the fight, like: “Pretty soon she’s going to tap… Oh shoot, she’s not tapping, she’s resisting!”
Because these girls are tough. They’re not just going to give up a loss for nothing.