Undefeated strawweight prospect Mackenzie Dern is scheduled to face Amanda Cooper at UFC 224 on May 12th. Dern, a decorated Brazillian jiu-jitsu practitioner, was impressive in her UFC debut at UFC 222 last March, but she showed apparent frailties in the stand-up and the wrestling department. But will Dern with that experience topple Cooper to rise in the division?
Dern after winning the Octagon debut, revealed that she was forced to leave the MMA lab team, as her head coach John Crouch end his engagement with her.
“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.”
Dern since moved her training camp to Southern California, splitting time in the Checkmate gym in Los Angeles for her jiu-jitsu skills, and at Black House MMA for striking.
“I’m not just training. I’m not the person that the next day I’m back in the academy,” Dern said. “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.”
Coach Crouch also addressed the situation in his own statement, stating that Dern was struggling going back and forth for training camp was big hurdle, reason why I asked her to move her training camp to California.
“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,” Crouch said. “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.”
Dern (6-0, 1-0 UFC), a submission specialist, said she’s happy with her new training situation and better off centering her camp in California.
“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.
Mackenzie will look to add another win in her resume when she squares off Amanda Cooper at UFC 224 (PPV) event, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on May 12, 2018.