Mackenzie Dern earned a highlight reel finish against Amander Cooper last night at UFC 224, but the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist didn’t walk away from the event scot-free.
Dern entered the Octagon seven pounds over the designated 116 lbs. weight limit and fought Cooper at a catchweight of 123 pounds.
It’s the third time of her career that Dern has failed to make weight and, despite landing a Dan Henderson-esque overhand right hand in the first round to set up a textbook rear-naked choke, the Brazilian has been criticized for her lack of professionalism.
Dern is aware of the criticism and has vowed to make changes to her diet, telling reporters at the UFC 224 post-fight press conference that she is ‘ashamed’ of her reoccurring failure to make weight.
“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 said, per MMA Weekly’s Damon Martin. “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.”
According to Dern’s manager, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) want the 25-year-old to move up to the flyweight division, but Dern wants to prove that she can make 115 lbs, reiterating that she is ashamed of what happened at the weigh-ins.
“My manager said that the UFC would want me to move up in weight,” Dern continued. “I believe that they won’t. 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, a multiple-time BJJ world champion, made her professional MMA debut in 2016 and has won six straight fights, notching wins over Ashley Yoder and ‘ABC’ after signing with the UFC in 2018.