Exclusive Interview with Black Belt Mackenzie Dern

Posted: March 20, 2013 in Interviews
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a super star of the grappling world. Her amazing 12 world titles and many other tournament wins clearly illustrates that she is currently one of the greatest female grapplers on the planet. She also is a daughter of the legendary Megaton Dias who is a world-renowned champion and currently a 5th degree black belt under Royler Gracie. I contacted Mackenzie and she was kind enough to give me some of her time for an interview while I was in Arizona! The following are parts of our conversation:

How was childhood growing up around a BJJ academy?

“It was fun, all the guys always treated me like a daughter or a little sister. None of my friends really did it [trained in BJJ] from school, so I always had BJJ friends and friends from school. I had attention at school with my friends there because I was stronger then most girls. I was strong for a girl, but it was lean strength ya know? Not bulky muscles. My school friends always bragged about my fighting abilities.”

What is one of your favorite BJJ moments of your career?

“Um, jeeze that’s hard, probably getting my black belt, December 1st. It was funny because my dad gives out belts at the Christmas party, and I had my brown belt for one year but I won every tournament as a brown belt, so I was expecting it, then at the party I didn’t get it. But then the next day he gave to me at the academy, it psyched me out.

How do you get ready for tournaments, how many days a week do you train and what do you do prior?

“So before the worlds, I started six months early, trying to be focused. Two months before, I try to get as strong as possible, exercising for max amount of strength, then one month before I started circuit training, doing quick motion exercises like in a fight. I trained five days a week two times a days.”

How do you get ready for tournaments mentally?

“Before my black belt I felt anxious, now that I have my black belt there is less pressure. I just go into matches and put my best game forward. I go fast and do my game first. I used to get nervous but I learned to control it. I switch from nervous to anxious before a fight and just do what you do in training.”

What are your favorite moves?

“I like the toehold figure four grip on the foot, triangles, and I like to catch the back!”

What are some tips to capture the heart of a BJJ girl, for us guys?

“Just be humble, the cocky guys aren’t the best, they are usually the younger guys. You know they are great guy if they persevere and are humble; it’s not all about winning. Don’t be too aggressive though just have a good friendship. Just start slow.”

If you want to learn more about Mackenzie Dern check out her website, BJJ Hero profile or follow her on twitter. Also be sure to check out her YouTube channel!


  1. spencer says:

    haha nice final question.

  2. sirenamafnas says:

    thanks for the great interview! I love Mackenzie!

  3. David Martin says:

    She is just awesome. I love the final question LOL

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