Mackenzie Dern’s second UFC fight at UFC 224 in Rio looked a lot better for the rising BJJ star than her first. Dern managed to drop her opponent Amanda Cooper with a big overhand right before quickly submitting her with a tight rear naked choke just 2:24 into the first round. But unfortunately for her, that big win has been largely overshadowed by her massive weigh-in fail, where she came in at at 123 pounds, 7 pounds over the strawweight limit.
Dern didn’t address the weigh-in debacle after her win in the cage (it was her third instance of missing weight in just seven fights), but ended up spending the majority of the post fight press conference discussing the situation.
”I can tell you 10,000 excuses, but I really believe that what happened with my weight is way back months ago in my last fight,” Dern said. “I think it’s my diet. I think I need to get my diet right. And the fact 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, missed flights and a lot of things happened and I just kept going and going.”
On fight week Dern put on a face of pure confidence to the press and public that she’d make weight, going so far as to complain that people were too focused on the question. At the press conference she admitted the UFC was seriously worried from the moment she arrived in Rio de Janeiro.
”The UFC since my first day I got here were trying to help me, but I was saying I was going to be able to make weight because I did it last time,” she said. “But on Friday at 9AM, I wasn’t losing any more weight. I was in the sauna and there was no more water coming out, I couldn’t walk any more and the commission said ‘You can’t keep going.’ Fortunately Amanda accepted the fight.”
”I’m ashamed of that and I don’t want it to happen again ... but it’s a mistake. Not that one thing is worse than the other, but I don’t take steroids, I didn’t pop for something. There’s champions that are caught using drugs, cocaine, things like that. For me it was a mistake and I’m going to work with the UFC to make sure it never happens again.”
Dern doesn’t have much choice if she wants to convince the organization to let her stay at 115 rather than move up to 125 pounds.
“My manager said the UFC wants me to move up in weight,” Dern admitted. “I believe that’s what they want. On Friday, [UFC matchmaker] Mick [Maynard] called me and said we have an 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 OK I’m going to work for you guys.”
“I can’t lose that opportunity to get all that out from this organization which is so big and help me make weight. They told me even without a fight, they’re going to make me make weight and they’re going to stay on me, but that’s what I need. Not that it’s not important I believe in what they’re offering to me. I’m going to take their help.”