Mackenzie Dern earned her second UFC victory on Saturday night but her latest win was overshadowed by events that took place a day earlier when she stepped onto the scale seven pounds over the strawweight limit for her fight against Amanda Cooper
Dern weighed 123 pounds on Friday before storming through Cooper just 24-hours later after landing a thunderous right hand in opening round that led to her rear naked choke finish.
Despite the dominant performance, Dern was heavily criticized for coming in so far over weight, which many believe contributed to her performance over Cooper.
At the post fight press conference, Dern explained what went wrong while taking the blame for missing weight for the third time in her career as a strawweight competitor (first time in the UFC).
“I can tell you 10,000 excuses but I really believe what happened with my weight was way back months ago in my last fight. I think it’s my diet, I need to get my diet right,” Dern explained at the UFC 224 post fight press conference. “The fact that I was able to do it before, I thought I knew what I was doing. A lot of things have been happening, it’s not an excuse. I missed flights and a lot of things happened and I just kept going and going. The UFC, since the first day I got here, were trying to help me and I said I was going to be able to make weight and I didn’t.
“On Friday, at 9 a.m. I wasn’t cutting anymore weight, I was in the sauna and there’s no more water coming out, I wasn’t sweating. I couldn’t walk anymore and the commission said you can’t keep going. Thankfully, Amanda accepted the fight. I’m ashamed at that. I don’t want that to happen again but it’s a mistake. Not that one thing is worse than the other, but I don’t take steroids, I wasn’t popped for anything. There are champions that are caught for drugs and cocaine and things like that. For me it’s a mistake. The UFC is investing in me and I’m going to work with them not to happen ever again.”
As far as what the future holds, Dern says that her manager passed along word that the UFC wanted her to move up to flyweight after this latest weight cutting mishap where she came in nearly a weight class bigger than her opponent.
Dern hopes to dissuade them from that decision by proving to them that she can safely cut down to the strawweight limit with plans in motion to begin working with the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
There, Dern would have access to a full time nutritionist as well as trainers, who would hopefully help her begin to understand her body chemistry and what it’s going to take to successfully cut down to strawweight on a consistent basis.
“My manager said that the UFC would want me to move up in weight. I believe that they won’t,” Dern said. “On Friday, [UFC matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] called me and said we have in institute here in Vegas and we’re going to invest in you, we want you here, we’re going to work with you so I said I’m going to work with you guys. I can’t lose that opportunity to get all this help from this organization that is so big and it’s going to help me make weight.”
Dern took a ton of criticism for coming in so far over weight but she promises that this will be the last time it will happen as she’s taking full responsibility for the mistakes that were made. Now she just wants the chance to prove herself by focusing on her weight ahead of her next fight.
“I’m ashamed of it. I don’t want to not make weight but what can I do,” Dern said. “She accepted the fight and I did my best and I can’t let that happen again and that’s what I’m going to do.”