Former MMA Champ Pleads With Mackenzie Dern To Make Changes After UFC 295: 'Doesn't Have The Crew Around Her To Fight Smart'
Strawweight contender Mackenzie Dern is currently reflecting on her latest setback, having fallen short of title contention once again this past weekend at UFC 295.
On the main card of the Madison Square Garden-held pay-per-view, Dern hoped to carry the momentum from her impressive main event performance against Angela Hill in May into a collision with former champion Jéssica Andrade.
But while the decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist had her sights set on a place inside the divisional top five, she was soundly beaten by “Bate Estaca,” who sent her fellow countrywoman to the first knockout loss of her professional MMA career.
The result has once again raised questions about Dern’s evolution as a mixed martial artist, with her wrestling game and striking drawing plenty of criticism in the aftermath.
And according to one former fighter-turned-analyst, the Brazilian-American strawweight simply must make changes.
Thomson: ‘Dern Doesn’t Know How To F*cking Wrestle At All’
During a recent episode of his Weighing In podcast alongside former MMA referee John McCarthy, ex-Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson gave his take on Dern’s latest setback, which comes on the heels of decision losses to Marina Rodriguez in 2021 and Yan Xiaonan last October.
Like many, “The Punk” noted that in spite of her world-class ground talents, Dern remains a fish out of water in the standup realm. And in the eyes of Thomson, an inadequate team around her could be to blame.
“The problem with Mackenzie is she just can’t get the fight to the ground,” Thomson said. “Once you’re fighting a one-dimensional fight like that, it’s extremely difficult to get the takedowns… Mackenzie Dern doesn’t know how to f*cking wrestle at all, let alone chain wrestle. No matter how much I like her and I extremely want her to start winning… she just doesn’t have the crew around her to make her fight smart or train smart. Get your ass into a judo gym or into a wrestling.”
Previously, Dern appeared to improve under the tutelage of renowned striking coach Jason Parillo. But in her first fight since transitioning to a different training environment, many believe that the BJJ ace showed clear signs of regression.
It remains to be seen whether or not Dern will heed the advice of Thomson and many others, but the #8-ranked strawweight has vowed not to repeat the kind of emotional, brawling display that led to her demise at MSG.
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