This Saturday, Dern will take on Tecia Torres in a featured strawweight fight on the main card of UFC 273. It’s a pivotal fight for Dern who is coming off a loss to Marina Rodriguez last October, and needs a win if she wants to stay in the title conversation. But Dern isn’t just looking for a win this weekend. The No. 5-ranked strawweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings wants to make a statement on Saturday by becoming the first person to finish Torres.
“100 percent. That’s definitely what I care about. I’m like, I want to be the first one. I think that would be a big statement if I can get it because of all the girls she’s fought,” Dern told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “She fought ex-champions, former champions, she’s been the pioneer of the strawweight division, she’s fought so many girls and no one’s been able to finish her. If I can get that I think that’s definitely a big statement.”
Dern doesn’t want to stop there though. As one of the most accomplished grapplers to ever transition to MMA, the multiple-time BJJ world champion has her sights set on an even larger overall career goal: to wrest the title of “Most Submissions in UFC history” away from current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira.
“I want to catch up to Charles Do Bronx on submission, most submissions in the UFC,” Dern said. “I know he has a lot of years on me, but that’s my goal, to make my own legacy in the UFC, and definitely getting that first finish of Tecia is on it.”
Oliveira, who has been competing in the UFC since 2010, currently holds the record for Most Submissions in UFC history with 15, four more than his next closest competitor. With only four submissions inside the UFC thus far, Dern has a long way to go to make up that ground. But even if she can’t add to that number against Torres this weekend, Dern is still excited about the opportunity to take all of Torres’ momentum, and get back in the title hunt.
“I actually went through and watched all her fights, and I know that most of her losses are to former champions, so she’s a tough fighter,” Dern said. “She’s fast, she has good volume, she’s quick, she has good footwork, but honestly, I think she just didn’t respect the girls she’s beating. I think she just overwhelmed them and didn’t care and just kept overwhelming them and didn’t let them get the rhythm in the fight...
“I definitely thinking this confidence that she’s coming in with in her last fights is getting more and more. She’s just like, I’m gonna come forward and just be the Tiny Tornado that she is, and that’s the fighter that I want to fight. I want to fight the one that’s gonna bring that out in me and take me to the next level. I’m so happy to be fighting her with this confidence that she has because I want to take it away from her.”
UFC 273 takes place this Saturday at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.