Augusto “Tanquinho” and Mackenzie Dern – Behind Every Great Man is… Another Great Grappler?

In sports, it’s a rare occurrence when we see a power couple.  Sure, in sports such as football and basketball there have been famous couples, but never were they stars in their own respected fields of sport.

However, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that isn’t true.  I’m sure many of you are familiar with the names of Augusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes and Mackenzie Dern.  Two exceptional grapplers, with fantastic lineage and accolades to prove it, Mendes and Dern are also the power couple of BJJ!

Fresh off of a landmark victory over Rafael Mendes at the 2013 World Championships, “Little Tank” has been riding high these days.

With a laundry list of accomplishments to his name, it can’t be overstated how accomplished his better half is in such a short time frame.

Photo and video from - they have some amazing videos on their page - check them out. Hywell is the man.

Photo and video from – they have some amazing videos on their page – check them out. Hywell is the man.

Mackenzie Dern – Born & Bred To Be A Champion

Born in 1993, Dern is the daughter of legendary grappler, Wellington “Megaton” Dias (see her full bio here).  By the age of 3, Dern had began working her Jiu Jitsu skills, and soon was gaining guidance from not just her father, but Royler Gracie as well—the man whom Megaton had earned his black belt under.

A World Champion, No Gi World Champion, Pan American Champion and a European Open Cup champion in multiple rankings, Dern has asserted herself as one of the top up-and-comers in the world of Jiu Jitsu.

Known for her work in the open guard, Dern is as dangerous as they get and is only getting better.

Taking Over The World of Jiu Jitsu Together

In a sport that offers so many athletes an opportunity to display their skills, it’s uncommon to see two extreme talents together outside of the grappling realm.  While it has been something we’ve seen in MMA with names such as Brandon & Kerry Vera, Bryan Caraway & Meisha Tate and Evangelista & Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, it’s far less common place in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

However, normally it’s just one of the two that shine bright; not with Tanquihno & Dern, they both shine equally bright.

A well balanced couple, both have seen fantastic success on the international stage and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Quite frankly, this is very refreshing for the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!  It’s so rare that we see a boyfriend and girlfriend compete in Jiu Jitsu, it’s a totally different thing when they are both forces to be reckoned with in their weight classes.

Is this something that we will see more-and-more of in BJJ?  That’s yet to be seen, but one thing I do know is that both Augusto & Mackenzie have broken the mold in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.   And it doesn’t hurt that they’re both world class competitors, either.

Dan Faggella

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