Hyped women’s strawweight prospect Mackenzie Dern was the talk of the UFC last week when she missed weight by seven pounds heading into her bout with Amanda Cooper at UFC 224 from Rio de Janeiro.
Even though she weighed in at nearly a full weight class above Cooper, her opponent chose to continue with the bout at a catchweight after Dern relinquished 30 percent of her purse to her. Dern won the match with an impressive first-round submission after rocking skilled striker Cooper with a huge overhand right.
She then made even more headlines by somehow debuting on the official strawweight rankings despite her saying the UFC wanted her to fight her next contest in the new UFC women’s flyweight division. The vast weight miss prompted an obvious backlash from her critics on social media, and her rankings debut lead to some longer-tenured fighters in her division such as Felice Herrig and Angela Hill questioning the decision.
Regardless of your opinion of her, Dern has fans and media members talking, and that could mean her perceived position as one of the future stars in MMA is coming true.
Dern knows that her hype coupled with her weight miss comes with an amount of backlash. After what she saw online last week, she revealed on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour that some of it was hard to take seriously even though she knows it’s a serious issue she has to corral:
“It’s kind of crazy. I see people putting hamburgers in my hands. I want to take it serious and I want to show that this won’t happen again, but with some of the memes and stuff I have to laugh. It’s kind of crazy.”
A lot of the criticism directed towards her was due to the fact that she appeared to be a much bigger fighter than Cooper when the two finally met, and it’s not hard to see why when she weighed in at nearly the flyweight limit after reportedly arriving in Brazil at a lofty 139 pounds and finding herself unable to stand.
Yet while many claimed she was the much bigger fighter against Cooper, Dern said they were close in weight when they touched down in Brazil and didn’t feel all that much heavier in the octagon:
“As soon as I arrived the UFC weighed us and I was 138 and she was 134 or 135, so as soon as I saw that it thought, ‘She’s almost my size’. I knew my right punch was strong from the times I hit her, but I didn’t feel so much heavier or something. I wasn’t thinking about the weight anymore.”
She won the fight in dominant fashion, but the questions about her ability to make strawweight – a division in which she’s missed weight three times in six scheduled bouts – left her next fight’s weight class truly uncertain. With talk she should move up rampant, Dern confirmed her desire to stay at 115 pounds with the help of the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
The hyped submission wiz said she’s made weight at strawweight before, and closed with a guarantee she wouldn’t miss the mark again:
“I want to stay at strawweight. Hopefully, with the help of UFC Performance Institute it will be a lot easier and it will all be under control. If they told me, ‘It’s not good for you to fight at 115’, then I would go to 125. I’ve made 115 before, three times, so I think it’s a better weight for me.”
“I can guarantee [that I won’t miss weight again].”