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UFC 224: Mackenzie Dern ‘invited to leave’ The MMA Lab after winning Octagon debut

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UFC 222: Yoder v Dern Photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

Undefeated (6-0, 1-0 UFC) submission specialist Mackenzie Dern got off to a great start to her Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career by defeating Ashley Yoder via split decision in her debut back at UFC 222 last March.

Soon thereafter, however, she was forced to look for permanent place to sharpen her skills as the Brazilian bomber revealed she was asked to leave The MMA Lab by head trainer John Crouch.

And while it doesn’t seem like it was a confrontational collision, Dern says the two parties simply couldn’t come to an understanding regarding her training rituals.

“In relation with the Lab, after my last fight, Coach [John] Crouch, he just invited me to leave the team,” Dern said during a recent media luncheon courtesy of MMA Fighting. “I think really we don’t have a 100-percent understanding. I think he knows his decisions more than me. I think with just the consistency, he wanted me to be there more often than what I was, but everything happens for a reason.”

In a statement to MMA Fighting, Crouch had this to say.

“She was struggling to make it back and forth to Arizona, and I thought it was better that she just set up her camp in California, where she really enjoys being. I wish her the best. I know she’s going to do great in ]her jiu-jitsu career and in her MMA career, and we’ll be cheering for her.”

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Dern has been training in Los Angeles as of late with Blackhouse MMA and Checkmat and Leo Vieira. While cross-training at different gyms is nothing new, it seems Crouch preferred Dern find a more suitable permanent gym to meet her lifestyle.

And part of that lifestyle is to be able to unwind, as Mackenzie says while she loves to train, like any fighter, she needs time off as well, which is why the L.A. area is perfect for her.

“I think, like I said, the mindset and being confident, if you’re happy, too, with where you are, it’s the best,” Dern said. “Here is a little bit similar lifestyle that I have in Brazil. I almost went back to Brazil to live there. I was even training with Jose Aldo down there and everything and seeing if I would be there. So, I have this lifestyle here in California, which gives me that good balance,” she added.

“I’m not just training,” Dern said. “I’m not the person that the next day I’m back in the academy. I like to be able to be on the beach and relax and miss to be on the mats and want to be on the mats. I don’t like to feel the pressure to be on the mats. I’m on the mats since I’m 3 years old. For me, at 25, when I have the time to rest and everything, then the next time, it’s like man I want to train. I like to have that drive.”

And while Dern has yet to settle on a permanent setting for her fights moving forward, she has no plans on ever going back to her old stomping grounds.

“Definitely not back to Arizona,” she concluded.

Mackenzie will look to make it two in a row inside the eight-sided cage when she faces Amanda Cooper at the upcoming UFC 224 pay-per-view (PPV) event on May 12, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.