Mackenzie Dern wants to make it clear that her weight issues are a thing of the past.
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion-turned-UFC strawweight has successfully beat the scale in her previous two outings, coming in at the 115-pound limit for fights against Hannah Cifers and Amanda Ribas. The Cifers fight at UFC on ESPN 9 was her first since giving birth to daughter Moa in June of last year and also her first win since UFC 224 in May 2018.
That UFC 224 victory over Amanda Cooper was marred by Dern missing weight by seven pounds, the third time in her MMA career that she’d failed to make weight. During a recent appearance on MMA Fighting’s What the Heck show, Dern was given the floor to answer in advance any potential questions about her cut heading into Saturday’s fight with Randa Markos at UFC Vegas 11.
“Just stop commenting, stop saying, ‘Oh, she’s not gonna make it. She’s not gonna make it,’ Dern said. “Don’t worry, I’m gonna make it and I’ll probably have, like, I don’t know, maybe ice cream the night before. I don’t know what’s going on. My weight’s just responding so well from the pregnancy.
“Again, I say this every fight since my pregnancy. I still want to get the strength more and more and more, I’m still not where I want to be 100 percent strength-wise. Just because of corona and the gyms and everything’s closed. I really want weights to bulk up.
“But yeah, I feel good. I’m feeling even stronger and leaner than my last fight. So yeah, my weight’s awesome. Please guys, you don’t need to question my weight anymore. I understand I’ve had three missed weights in my career, so I know in my last one in Rio was by a lot, so I understand that people are going to hold it against me for a while.”
Dern is eager to make a strong impression in her first fight of 2020, especially after renegotiating her contract to add more fights following her win over Cifers. In Markos, Dern faces one of the strawweight division’s most experienced competitors. The Canadian by way of Iraq has 14 UFC appearances under her belt, while Dern competes in MMA for just the 10th time overall.
Once the cage door closes on Saturday, Dern expects anything could happen given that Markos is also known for her grappling. For now, she’s focused on controlling what she can – she said she was at 119 pounds 10 days out from the fight – and that means continuing the search for a balanced diet that not only keeps her weight where it needs to be, but builds on her developing strength.
“I need to eat otherwise I’ll be too light,” Dern said. “Whenever I finish the training, if I see my weight’s down too low, I’m eating a little bit more. I don’t know why. Of course, I stopped breast feeding before my last fight because Moa, she couldn’t go to Vegas with me, so that was basically the cutoff that we stopped, so that was in May. I don’t know if the hormones when they start to balance out if things will change, but I’m eating good. Secretly, I’m eating ice cream sometimes, stuff like that I’m eating a lot, I’m not eating little stuff.
“I asked Charles from Trifecta from the UFC to send me some protein, some creatine to bulk up. I’m taking these things that they say retain water and stuff like that. I don’t know what’s happened, but I’m feeling good. It’s a different thing to be able to fight and not worry about your weight.”