Ahead of her upcoming UFC Vegas 61 main event this weekend in ‘Sin City’, grappling standout, Mackenzie Dern has touted former undisputed lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira as the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player in professional mixed martial arts today. 

Dern, who currently holds the #5 rank in the official strawweight pile, is slated to take headlining honors for the second time in her Octagon tenure, drawing Chinese talent, Yan Xiaonan at the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Returning to the winner’s enclosure following a unanimous decision loss to Brazilian striker, Marina Rodriguez in her premier promotional main event, Dern would land a split decision success against perennial contender, Tecia Torres at UFC 273 back in April of this year.

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A hugely-decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player in her own right, Dern, a native of Arizona, holds a whopping five submission victories during his Octagon stint already, however, has touted the promotion’s most prolific submission artist, Oliveira, as the best grappler in mixed martial arts today.

“In my opinion, the best Jiu-Jitsu (fighter) in the UFC is Charles ‘Do Bronx’ (Oliveira),” Mackenzie Dern told MMA Fighting reporter, Damon Martin. “Because of his Jiu-Jitsu in MMA. In Jiu-Jitsu, he wasn’t a black belt world champion or ADCC world champion or anything so it wasn’t like in the Jiu-Jitsu world he’s the most famous guy in Jiu-Jitsu but in MMA, for me, he has the best Jiu-Jitsu in MMA.” 

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“Most submissions, knows how to play on his back, knows how to play on top,” Mackenzie Dern said of Charles Oliveira. “If you want to know the best Jiu-Jitsu in MMA, Charles ‘Do Bronx’.” 

Mackenzie Dern also showers praise on welterweight contender, Gilbert Burns

Whilst Dern labels Oliveira as the best Jiu-Jitsu fighter in professional mixed martial arts today, the strawweight also touted Oliveira’s compatriot, one-time welterweight title chaser, Gilbert Burns as the “most high-level” Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in the sport.

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“The best Jiu-Jitsu athlete that is in UFC now, that’s hard but ‘Durinho’ Gilbert Burns, for sure,” Mackenzie Dern explained. “His Jiu-Jitsu game when we were in the Jiu-Jitsu world, people stopped to watch him fight. World champion, ADCC, crazy and he’s able to do that in MMA. A Jiu-Jitsu guy, striking, he goes in, he’s not scared of getting punched and he has his takedowns and everything.”

“I think the most high-level Jiu-Jitsu guy in MMA now is ‘Durinho’ but the best Jiu-Jitsu for MMA, Charles ‘Do Bronx’.”

Aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Follow along at @Ross_Markey on Twitter for all the latest news, fight announcements, opinion, and feature pieces.