Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda ‘Ronda’ Rousey is considered a pioneer of women’s MMA. She was the first UFC women’s champion ever. Not just her victories but the way she ran through each and every of her opponents was commendable. With Rousey signing with WWE, does not reduce the influence she had on the UFC and hence newcomer Mackenzie Dern who is a multiple time Jiu Jitsu gold medalist is compared with Rousey due to her submission victories.
Dern in a recent media event claimed that she likes the comparison.
“It was nice. It was a compliment,” Dern said of those comparisons during a recent media event (via MMAjunkie). “Everything she is doing for women in MMA is so great. I hope I can do that too – even do more than what she’s done.”
Rousey is a former Olympic Bronze medalist in Judo. Hence, the Judo staple armbar became her go to move in MMA as well. Out of her 12 victories, nine have been by the way of armbar. Dern thinks her road to UFC success would be more difficult than Rousey’s.
“She came into MMA when women’s MMA was very new,” Dern said. “So of course she’s going to face different obstacles than I face. I imagine that to break the barrier (of being the first woman in the UFC) for her was a big obstacle. I don’t have to break that barrier. But at the same time, I’m in the 115 (pound) division. My division, for my opinion, is the hardest division in women’s (MMA), even more than her division (135 pounds) today. I think that 115 is stronger, so I fight way more tough girls.
Out of Rousey’s nine victories by armbar, eight have been in the first round itself. Dern also said at the highest level like UFC everybody is familiar with ground game and fighters weren’t prepared for a Judo background back when Rousey was climbing the ranks.
“Of course I would like to submit the fight in 15 seconds, go and connect and submit,” Dern said. “But it’s not that easy anymore. They see me as a world champion in jiu-jitsu, like Royce Gracie. Jiu-jitsu in MMA, if you’re good in jiu-jitsu, people pay attention to that, instead of judo. Judo, people in MMA didn’t respect judo so much, you didn’t see too many judo fighters in MMA. So for me they train more, the whole camp, just to not engage and everything, you know?”
Dern then stated that it was Rousey’s success that inspired her to do pursue MMA.
“I got into MMA because of what Ronda did,” Dern said. “She showed that we can live off of sponsors, we can live off of MMA. If I can get girls to do martial arts, to break that taboo that we’re going to be manly, you won’t lose who you are. You can be whoever you want to be. It won’t change who you are just because you fight. If I can inspire and do that in commercials and do those things then of course, but I want to be the champion first, If I can be the UFC champion then I’m good.”
Dern takes on TUF participant Amanda Cooper on the main card of UFC 224 on May 12 in Rio De Janeiro.