Zebra Athletics, Mackenzie Dern

Report: Mackenzie Dern staying at strawweight, eyes March return

Rising female prospect Mackenzie Dern won’t be making the jump up to the flyweight division just yet. Despite missing weight by 7 pounds in her last fight against Amanda Cooper at UFC 224 in May of 2018, ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported on Wednesday that after having talks with her team and doctors, she will be staying at strawweight rather than jump up to flyweight.

Counting her debacle at UFC 224, that was the third time in seven professional fights in which Mackenzie Dern has missed weight. Widely considered one of the young female stars in the UFC, Dern has shown plenty of potential inside the Octagon but missing weight multiple times has hindered the promotion’s ability to market her as such.

Helwani went to report that Dern is targeting a return to the Octagon on March 23 which is set to air on ESPN+. There has not been a venue announced for the fight night and while Helwani reports that there is an opponent in mind for Dern, there is no official opponent scheduled for her yet.

The undefeated Dern is 7-0 in her professional MMA career and is 2-0 since joining the UFC back at UFC 222 in March of 2018. Since joining the UFC, Dern has picked up wins over Cooper and Ashley Yoder, but finds herself in a strawweight division that has no shortage of title contenders at the top of the division.

While Valentina Shevchenko is the current flyweight champion, the division seems more open and opportunistic for potential rising fighters like Dern rather than strawweight where veteran contenders find themselves fighting it out for the next title opportunity.

Mackenzie Dern has plenty of potential and it’ll be interesting to see how the UFC and her team handle another fight at strawweight division, but if there is any mishap with her weight cutting, a move to flyweight would likely be recommended by the promotion moving forward.

Here is Ariel Helwani’s full report on Dern staying at strawweight.