Mackenzie Dern: I Can Guarantee I Won’t Miss Weight Again

Mackenzie Dern guaranteed she’ll never miss weight again. You buying?

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Hyped women’s strawweight prospect Mackenzie Dern was the talk of the UFC last week when she missed weight by seven pounds heading into her bout with Amanda Cooper at UFC 224 from Rio de Janeiro.

Even though she weighed in at nearly a full weight class above Cooper, her opponent chose to continue with the bout at a catchweight after Dern relinquished 30 percent of her purse to her. Dern won the match with an impressive first-round submission after rocking skilled striker Cooper with a huge overhand right.

She then made even more headlines by somehow debuting on the official strawweight rankings despite her saying the UFC wanted her to fight her next contest in the new UFC women’s flyweight division. The vast weight miss prompted an obvious backlash from her critics on social media, and her rankings debut lead to some longer-tenured fighters in her division such as Felice Herrig and Angela Hill questioning the decision.

Regardless of your opinion of her, Dern has fans and media members talking, and that could mean her perceived position as one of the future stars in MMA is coming true.

Dern knows that her hype coupled with her weight miss comes with an amount of backlash. After what she saw online last week, she revealed on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour that some of it was hard to take seriously even though she knows it’s a serious issue she has to corral:

“It’s kind of crazy. I see people putting hamburgers in my hands. I want to take it serious and I want to show that this won’t happen again, but with some of the memes and stuff I have to laugh. It’s kind of crazy.”

A lot of the criticism directed towards her was due to the fact that she appeared to be a much bigger fighter than Cooper when the two finally met, and it’s not hard to see why when she weighed in at nearly the flyweight limit after reportedly arriving in Brazil at a lofty 139 pounds and finding herself unable to stand.

Yet while many claimed she was the much bigger fighter against Cooper, Dern said they were close in weight when they touched down in Brazil and didn’t feel all that much heavier in the octagon:

“As soon as I arrived the UFC weighed us and I was 138 and she was 134 or 135, so as soon as I saw that it thought, ‘She’s almost my size’. I knew my right punch was strong from the times I hit her, but I didn’t feel so much heavier or something. I wasn’t thinking about the weight anymore.”

She won the fight in dominant fashion, but the questions about her ability to make strawweight – a division in which she’s missed weight three times in six scheduled bouts – left her next fight’s weight class truly uncertain. With talk she should move up rampant, Dern confirmed her desire to stay at 115 pounds with the help of the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas.

The hyped submission wiz said she’s made weight at strawweight before, and closed with a guarantee she wouldn’t miss the mark again:

“I want to stay at strawweight. Hopefully, with the help of UFC Performance Institute it will be a lot easier and it will all be under control. If they told me, ‘It’s not good for you to fight at 115’, then I would go to 125. I’ve made 115 before, three times, so I think it’s a better weight for me.”

“I can guarantee [that I won’t miss weight again].”

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UFC Rankings Update: Yair Rodriguez Removed From Featherweight

Yair Rodriguez has been stricken from the UFC rankings, but another rising star debuted:

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The UFC released some shocking info last week when news arrived that formerly hyped featherweight prospect Yair Rodriguez had been released from the promotion.

The story was that the flashy ‘Pantera,’ once viewed as one of the promotion’s brightest rising stars, refused to fight Zabit Magomedsharipov and Ricardo Lamas after word came that he would be facing the former at August 4’s expanding UFC 227 pay-per-view from Los Angeles, Calif.

UFC President Dana White wasted little time in releasing the skilled but absent Rodriguez as he focused on the once-hyped talent’s lengthy layoff and refusal to fight:

“The guy’s off a year, rejects a fight with Lamas and then doesn’t want to fight a guy below him in the rankings?” White said. “He can go somewhere else. We have no use for him. He calls that fight fake news. This is real news.”

While it was thought that the pending release was perhaps a tactic to get Rodriguez to accept the fight, apparently it’s very real as Rodriguez has been removed from his No. 11 spot on the UFC rankings in the latest update. His removal allowed Mirsad Bektic and Magomedsharipov to rise up a spot each and boosted Myles Jury by two spots.

In other prominent rankings movement, surging middleweight Kelvin Gastelum moved up a spot to No. 4 for his close split decision win over Ronaldo Souza at last weekend’s UFC 224 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, dropping ‘Jacare’ three spots in the process.

Mackenzie Dern also made her debut on the women’s strawweight rankings despite missing weight for the division by an egregious seven pounds for her UFC 224 match-up with Amanda Bobby Cooper, which she eventually won by first-round submission.

While it’s definitely an accomplishment for Dern to debut on the rankings after two UFC bouts, the promotion has reportedly already said she will be forced to move up to women’s flyweight for her next bout, making her presence on the strawweight ranks a bit pointless until she proves she can make weight.

Here are the full updated rankings courtesy of UFC.com:

POUND-FOR-POUND
1 Demetrious Johnson
2 Georges St-Pierre
3 Stipe Miocic
3 Conor McGregor
5 Daniel Cormier
6 Max Holloway
7 TJ Dillashaw
8 Tyron Woodley
9 Khabib Nurmagomedov
10 Cris Cyborg
11 Tony Ferguson
12 Amanda Nunes
13 Robert Whittaker
14 Cody Garbrandt
15 Rose Namajunas

FLYWEIGHT
Champion: Demetrious Johnson
1 Joseph Benavidez
2 Henry Cejudo
3 Ray Borg
4 Jussier Formiga
5 Sergio Pettis
6 John Moraga
7 Brandon Moreno
8 Wilson Reis
9 Ben Nguyen
10 Dustin Ortiz
11 Matheus Nicolau
12 Alexandre Pantoja
13 Tim Elliott
14 Deiveson Figueiredo
15 Magomed Bibulatov

BANTAMWEIGHT
Champion: TJ Dillashaw
1 Cody Garbrandt
2 Dominick Cruz
3 Raphael Assuncao
4 Jimmie Rivera
5 Marlon Moraes
6 John Lineker
7 John Dodson
8 Aljamain Sterling
9 Bryan Caraway
10 Pedro Munhoz
11 Cody Stamann
12 Rob Font
13 Thomas Almeida
14 Brett Johns
15 Eddie Wineland

FEATHERWEIGHT
Champion: Max Holloway
1 Brian Ortega
2 Jose Aldo
3 Frankie Edgar
4 Jeremy Stephens
5 Cub Swanson
6 Josh Emmett
7 Ricardo Lamas
8 Chan Sung Jung
9 Renato Moicano
10 Darren Elkins
11 Mirsad Bektic +1
12 Zabit Magomedsharipov +1
13 Myles Jury +2
14 Dooho Choi
15 Calvin Kattar *NR

LIGHTWEIGHT
Champion: Khabib Nurmagomedov
1 Conor McGregor
2 Tony Ferguson
3 Eddie Alvarez
4 Dustin Poirier
5 Kevin Lee
6 Edson Barboza
7 Justin Gaethje
8 Nate Diaz
9 Michael Chiesa
10 Al Iaquinta
11 James Vick
12 Anthony Pettis
13 Alexander Hernandez
14 Paul Felder
15 Olivier Aubin-Mercier

WELTERWEIGHT
Champion: Tyron Woodley
1 Stephen Thompson
2 Rafael Dos Anjos
3 Colby Covington
4 Robbie Lawler
5 Demian Maia
6 Jorge Masvidal
7 Kamaru Usman
8 Darren Till
9 Neil Magny
10 Santiago Ponzinibbio
11 Donald Cerrone
12 Gunnar Nelson
13 Alex Oliveira
14 Leon Edwards
15 Dong Hyun Kim

MIDDLEWEIGHT
Champion: Robert Whittaker
1 Yoel Romero
2 Luke Rockhold +1
3 Chris Weidman +1
4 Kelvin Gastelum +1
5 Jacare Souza -3
6 Michael Bisping
7 Derek Brunson
8 David Branch
9 Lyoto Machida +3
10 Brad Tavares
11 Uriah Hall
12 Antonio Carlos Junior +1
12 Thiago Santos +1
14 Paulo Costa +1
15 Elias Theodorou *NR

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Champion: Daniel Cormier
1 Alexander Gustafsson
2 Volkan Oezdemir
3 Glover Teixeira
4 Ilir Latifi
5 Jan Blachowicz
6 Jimi Manuwa
7 Mauricio Rua
7 Ovince Saint Preux
9 Corey Anderson
10 Misha Cirkunov
11 Patrick Cummins
12 Tyson Pedro
13 Gadzhimurad Antigulov
14 Gian Villante
15 Jordan Johnson

HEAVYWEIGHT
Champion: Stipe Miocic
1 Francis Ngannou
2 Alistair Overeem
3 Alexander Volkov
4 Curtis Blaydes
5 Fabricio Werdum
6 Derrick Lewis
7 Mark Hunt -1
8 Marcin Tybura
9 Andrei Arlovski
10 Aleksei Oleinik
11 Stefan Struve
12 Tai Tuivasa
13 Shamil Abdurakhimov
14 Justin Willis +1
15 Junior Dos Santos *NR

WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT
Champion: Rose Namajunas
1 Joanna Jedrzejczyk
2 Jessica Andrade
3 Claudia Gadelha
4 Karolina Kowalkiewicz
5 Tecia Torres
6 Carla Esparza
7 Michelle Waterson
8 Felice Herrig
9 Alexa Grasso
10 Cortney Casey
11 Randa Markos
12 Tatiana Suarez
13 Joanne Calderwood
14 Nina Ansaroff
15 Mackenzie Dern *NR

WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT
Champion: Nicco Montano
1 Valentina Shevchenko
2 Sijara Eubanks
3 Lauren Murphy
4 Alexis Davis
5 Katlyn Chookagian
6 Roxanne Modafferi -1
7 Barb Honchak
8 Liz Carmouche
9 Jessica-Rose Clark
10 Jessica Eye
11 Ashlee Evans-Smith
12 Mara Romero Borella
13 Paige VanZant
14 Montana De La Rosa
15 Rachael Ostovich

WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT
Champion: Amanda Nunes
1 Holly Holm
2 Ketlen Vieira +2
3 Julianna Pena
4 Raquel Pennington -2
5 Germaine de Randamie
6 Cat Zingano
7 Marion Reneau
8 Sara McMann
9 Aspen Ladd
10 Bethe Correia
11 Irene Aldana
12 Lucie Pudilova
13 Sarah Moras
14 Lina Lansberg
15 Gina Mazany

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Mackenzie Dern Details Harrowing Missed Weight Cut For UFC 224

Sounds like Mackenzie Dern should run – not walk – to the flyweight division:

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Rising female MMA star Mackenzie Dern picked up her second UFC win over Amanda Bobby Cooper at last weekend’s UFC 224, and she did so in dominant style.

However, the first-round submission (watch highlights here) that had the crowd roaring in the Jeunesse Arena from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was overshadowed by the fact she had missed the 116-pound strawweight limit by an alarming seven pounds, the third time she had missed weight in her seven-fight pro MMA career.

Dern expressed her embarrassment at the negligent miss directly after the fight, but during an appearance on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour, she opened up about how difficult the weight cut truly was. According to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu wiz, she began to notice issues with the cut when she spent hours in the sauna without any weight coming off:

“I started to get nervous on Thursday night. I spoke to my manager. In Vegas, I had a close weight cut, but in Vegas I was 100 percent positive I was going to make the weight even though I was the last one to weigh in. In Brazil, I told my manager on Thursday, ‘This isn’t like Vegas where the whole time I’m positive.’

“On Thursday night, I was doing a lot of hours in the sauna and the weight wasn’t coming off; I was just losing 500 grams or 600 grams for every two hours. I told [my manager], ‘I don’t think I’m going to lose this many kilos in 24 hours.”

Indeed she did not, so she then detailed that when it became clear she would miss weight, the presiding athletic commission and UFC doctors present told her she had to quit cutting weight if she still wanted to face Cooper at a catchweight:

“We woke up 5:30 and went to the sauna, did everything again for two hours and the weight wasn’t coming off. I was sweating, and then I’d go to the scale, but nothing had come off.

“[The commission] said, ‘If you keep going then we won’t have a chance to do that fight because you won’t be able to move, if we have to do a catchweight or something you have to stop now’. It was 9 o’clock already when they made the decision,” she remembered.

“The UFC doctors were there, they went to sauna, they met me there. They were the ones who made the decision; it wasn’t me who wanted to stop. I went to the bathroom to check my weight and when I came back they put me on the chair and they started to give me some ice and I said, ‘No, I need to cut weight!’ They told me to drink and I didn’t understand why.”

Dern then described just how impactful the cut was, as she reached a point where she could no longer stand up due to being depleted:

“I felt my body not reacting well. The other times I didn’t make weight it was in my head. I started to trip out a little — well, not a little, a lot — that my body was shutting down.

“For this one, I felt like my mind was right, but I remember telling my coaches, ‘It’s hard for me to stand up’, I started to feel it in my legs. Then I went to the sauna two more times and then I wasn’t able to stand up anymore. The water came out of my legs and the muscles in my legs were starting to not respond. They thought I wouldn’t be able to fight.”

Based on that, it was obviously a beyond rough cut for Dern, who has been told she will compete at women’s flyweight in her next UFC bout.

But that didn’t only become apparent when she realized she could barely stand. In fact, the commission almost wanted to pull her from the card when she arrived in Brazil earlier in the week, so much so that she had to dehydrate early and make a target weight to even continue cutting:

“[The commission] wanted to pull me on Tuesday when I arrived. I said, ‘No, it’s okay, I just flew 14 hours and I drank a lot of water and I didn’t do any exercise, of course I’m going to be heavy’, but they made me make a weight the next day.

“I dehydrated two days early to show I could make a weight. When I made that weight on Wednesday, they allowed me to keep on cutting. It was a little bit crazy the weight cut because I had to do a pre-dehydration to show I could make the weight on Wednesday.”

Finally, Dern revealed how much she weighed when she landed in Brazil, and it was an astonishing 23 pounds over the strawweight limit:

“When I arrived I weighed 139 pounds and a half. And then, on Wednesday, I was 131. It’s not typical, I like to arrive at the fight week at 120, but honestly when I got there on Tuesday I wasn’t scared yet because I was on the plane and everything and I was drinking. For me, it was still possible.”

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Raquel Pennington Finally Addresses UFC 224 Corner Controversy

Raquel Pennington finally reacted to her UFC 224 controversy:

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Top UFC women’s bantamweight contender Raquel Pennington returned to the most challenging of all circumstance last weekend.

Following a year-and-a-half out of fighting and three surgeries, “Rocky” returned to meet dominant defending champion Amanda Nunes (full highlights here) in the main event of last Saturday night’s (Sat., May 12, 2018) UFC 224 from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Although she fought gallantly against the toughest out in her weight class, Pennington was largely dominated throughout the duration of the five-round fight which ended in a brutal, hard-to-watch stoppage after she broke her nose in the fourth round. But it was what took place in between the fourth and fifth rounds that stirred the most conversation about the fight.

Pennington told her cornerman Jason Kutz that she was ‘done’ and didn’t want to fight any longer after a bevy of Nunes knees badly injured her in the final minute of the fourth round. But Kutz urged her to forget the pain and continue on even though it was clear she had been destroyed and the remaining minutes of the fight would only continue to play out as such. Nunes blasted the cornerman’s decision to urge her to fight on, and Pennington’s girlfriend Tecia Torres revealed that they supported the decision to let her fight on.

Pennington herself reacted to the scene during an appearance on today’s episode of The MMA Hour, reaffirming to show host Ariel Helwani that she did support her coaches and what they did in Brazil.

So much so, in fact, that she was proud of them for pushing her to unveil her inner toughness, as she admitted she had broken a bit after Nunes’ early assault of leg kicks:

“I’m actually proud of my coaches. I know a lot of people are going against what they said and thinking all this different stuff, and it’s easy to judge, but you never know what’s happening in that moment. At the end of the day, my coaches know me best. They know my toughness and they know what I can handle, and I trust my coaches with everything that I have, and I know they wouldn’t put me in a situation that I can’t handle. I was going through a moment where I was obviously frustrated because of the facts with my legs. I was scared to step in and actually let my hands go, because the minute I would start to close the distance, Amanda would attack the leg.

“Those initial kicks really got me to a point where I started to break for a second, and the minute that I turned around and told my coaches that, and then I actually turned around and looked at my head coach and looked him in the eyes, I knew it still had it within me.”

And even though Pennington had absorbed so much punishment to her lead leg that she admitted there was a moment in the fight where “it just really felt like my knee was going to explode,” she still agreed with Kutz’s decision to push her, confirming that she would’ve been angry if she had quit.

In her mind, giving up on herself isn’t an option, so she was happy her coach didn’t allow her to:

“I agreed with my coaches as soon as the fight was done,” Pennington said. “I agreed with them in that moment, because at the end of the day, the ball’s still in my court. I could’ve easily waved off the fight. I could’ve sat down and tapped out. But I choose not to. I choose to pull my head out of my ass, basically, and not give up on myself. Because at the end of the day, when you give up, it’s a whole different ballgame there. Quitting’s not an option in that aspect, and in that moment, I was quitting on myself. And that’s when a coach steps in and they push their athlete.

“I would’ve been mad,” Pennington added, “and I would’ve been more mad at myself, so I’m glad that my coaches didn’t let me give up on myself.”

Pennington then opened up about her leg injury, which became apparent from the opening minute. She said it was similar to the broken leg she recently came back from, so it was terrifying:

“I felt it the minute I stood back up,” Pennington said. “As soon as it made contact with my leg and my legs went out from underneath me, as soon as I tried to stand back up, it felt the exact same way as when I originally broke it. So it was kind of a terrifying feeling, just given the fact that I still had about 24 minutes left in a fight. Then she nailed it a second time and the pain that just sunk in made me want to throw up. So it was from the very get-go.”

With the medical attention in Brazil ‘terrible’ in her words, Pennington returned to America to get a series of MRIs and x-rays on her knee.

She may be facing another lengthy physical recovery, but she said her coaches were hit hard emotionally by the criticism they received:

“My coaches are pretty emotional about the whole thing,” Pennington said. “They’re just as emotionally invested as I am, and it’s not something that’s easy on them, and especially when people are commenting and making some comments and stuff. Me and my head coach, we had a talk and he’s like, ‘You know I have your best interest at heart. Like, I love you like you’re my daughter, I would never put you in a bad situation.’

“And I’m the one who had to talk him out of things, because he was pretty devastated. And I told him, ‘You pushed me to be the better athlete. You didn’t let me give up on myself, because if I gave up on myself, it would be a whole different ballgame. And so the fact that you were there for me, because you know me best in these situations, I couldn’t be more proud.’

“So they’re struggling, but they just have to keep their heads up too, because at the end of the day, they’re a hell of a coaching staff and I love them all.”

Finally, Pennington offered the opinion that all of the online critics just needed to relax, because she had taken years to build trust with her coaches and would have been much angrier if she didn’t finish the fight when her coach threw in the towel.

To her, those critics don’t know what it’s like to be in her shoes:

“Everybody needs to relax,” Pennington said. “A fight’s a fight, and at the end day, we have our coaching staff. I’ve taken years to build up trust with my coaching staff and I know that I have awesome people in my corner. Like I said, it’s not an easy sport to go through and do, and sometimes things go your way, sometimes things don’t go your way. At the end of the day, it was a f*cking awesome opportunity and I’m proud that, knowing what I went through in the first round, that I freaking hung in there for as long as I did and I’m proud of my coaches for being there for me, and to keep pushing me and to let me give up on myself.

“Because at the end of the day, quitting like that on yourself — it would’ve been more brutal if they would’ve sat there and threw the towel in, instead of actually letting me make the decision that I made in the fifth round. So, stop judging from the outside, because you’ll never understand what goes on unless you’re in our shoes and in our position.”

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Mackenzie Dern Addresses Huge Weight Miss Before UFC 224

Mackenzie Dern has explained why she missed weight for her fight at UFC 224.

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Mackenzie Dern has addressed missing weight for her bout at last night’s (Sat., May 12, 2018) UFC 224 from Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

It was the big news on Friday and a lot of people criticized her for doing so as it was a bad weight cut. Dern missed weight by weighing in at 123 pounds for the fight that was supposed to take place in the strawweight (116 pounds max.) division.

Her opponent at the show, Amanda Cooper, did make weight and criticized her for not making weight. As seen on the main card of UFC 224 Dern picked up a first-round submission win over Cooper. The popular but now controversial prospect, who holds a 7-0 record in professional MMA, made her promotional debut against Ashley Yoder at UFC 222, where she scored a split decision win.

After the fight, Dern addressed missing weight by talking to the media who attended this latest pay-per-view event for the promotion. In terms of what happened to make her miss weight so egregiously, she thinks it all starts with her last fight that took place a few months ago.

“I’m ashamed of that,” Dern said at the UFC 224 post-fight press conference (transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting). “I don’t want that to happen again. 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 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 Thursday night, i was a bit nervous and I talked to my manager with everyone and I said ‘this is rough I don’t know how this is going to go tomorrow let’s see’” Dern said. “But on Friday I woke up at 6 a.m., I went to the sauna, we were trying and trying, my mind was fine, I was conscious, but there was a point where the weight wasn’t going away any more. The commission was already there and when 9 o’clock came, the weigh-ins were from 9-11 I was there for two hours and I only lost 500 grams and they said you’re not going to make weight, so then they were looking to make catchweight. I tried my hardest, it wasn’t my decision to stop, but the commission and my manager and everyone made the decision.”

“I felt that even if I won, that people would say it is because of my weight,” Dern said. “I didn’t think about it, the only thing I thought is that I’m going to go out there and do my best. I think what helped the most is that I fought in Brazil. I think if I fought anywhere, Vegas or another place, I would have felt it more. But I knew that fighting here in Brazil, representing Brazil, I know how Brazilians support their athletes in any form, regardless of anything. The people support me either way.”

Dern did make it clear that she plans on never letting this happen again, and a way of making sure it does not is to go to the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“My manager said the UFC wants me to move up in weight. I believe that’s what they want,” Dern said. “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. “

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Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Bobby Cooper Full Fight Video Highlights

Watch Mackenzie Dern submit Amanda Bobby Cooper at UFC 224 here:

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Last night’s (Sat., May 12, 2018) UFC 224 from the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, may have featured a title bout between Amanda Nunes and Raquel Pennington in the main event, but it’s safe to say much of the attention was on hyped prospect Mackenzie Dern and her latest scale fail.

After she missed weight by a monstrous seven pounds, Dern was expectedly raked over the coals by her opponent Amanda Bobby Cooper and the rest of MMA social media.

That only increased the pressure on Dern to win and win big in the birthplace of her family heritage, and she did just that in a quick, one-sided victory using both of her developing MMA skillsets. Cooper was more known for her striking skill than Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion Dern, but ‘ABC’ was unable to mount any offense.

And while it was thought Dern would win the fight on the mat and she ultimately did, she also showed some increasing stand-up by rocking her opponent with a huge looping shot early on, opening the door for a tight, fight-ending rear-naked choke in the first round.

Watch the highlights of Dern’s second UFC win right here:

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