Amanda Cooper isn’t holding back after a roller-coaster day in Rio de Janeiro.
Cooper and her UFC 224 opponent Mackenzie Dern had a fiery staredown Friday at the event’s ceremonial weigh-ins. Cooper twice refused to shake Dern’s hand and instead went nose-to-nose with Dern in a tense scene after the Brazilian jiu-jitsu star badly missed weight earlier in the morning at UFC 224’s official weigh-ins.
With more than an hour remaining to weigh-in, Dern tipped the scales at 123 pounds, seven pounds over the strawweight limit — and Cooper isn’t happy.
“There’s a lot of emotions today,” Cooper said on FOX Sports 1 following the ceremonial UFC 224 weigh-ins. “I had a tough cut, and my opponent kinda disrespected me and the sport and I think the Brazilian fans. So there’s a lot of emotion because I am emotional. I’m upset. I’m mad. I think everyone else should be. There’s too many cheers for someone who misses weight by not a small portion, but a large portion. And let me tell you what, I cannot wait until tomorrow night.”
Cooper, 26, is set to receive 30 percent of Dern’s show purse because of the egregiousness of the weigh-in miss.
But according to Cooper, despite Dern’s significant weight advantage, “ABC” never once hesitated to accept the catchweight bout.
“As soon as I heard that Mackenzie wasn’t going to make weight, I almost started crying,” Cooper said. “Like, ‘Whatever I have to do to make weight, whatever I have to do to get this fight, I am not going home with some money. I’m going home as a winner.’ And that’s all that mattered to me, was, I’m going to take this fight and it’s going to everything that I thought of, everything that I called. I’m going to beat this girl.”
The weigh-in miss was nothing new for Dern. The 25-year-old jiu-jitsu champion twice missed the strawweight limit during her brief career on the regional MMA scene. She hit her mark for her Octagon debut at UFC 222 — a split decision win over Ashley Yoder — but her struggles on the scale reared their head once again ahead of her sophomore effort.
So when it comes to what Cooper is expecting from her opponent on Saturday night, she isn’t mincing her words.
“I’m already expecting a broken Mackenzie Dern,” Cooper said. “She couldn’t make the weight, she couldn’t get this stuff done, she missed her flight getting here. Like, that is not a professional. I’m going to stuff her shots, I’m going to punch her in the face, and I’m going to break her — more than she’s already broken.”