UFC Tampa: Is Make or Miss Weight for Mackenzie Dern
By James Lee
Mackenzie Dern left for her hiatus as a heel but has a fresh start to rectify her past mistakes when she returns in Tampa on Saturday.
Dern (7-0) made an impressive start to her professional MMA career after transitioning from jiu jitsu, with two consecutive UFC wins in two months alongside her victories in LFA and Invicta setting her up as one of the sport’s biggest prospects.
However, after she missed weight by 7lbs at UFC 224 in her last fight, the fighting world turned off somewhat from her progression and antics. The missed weight was the third time of her career so far in just seven professional fights and if there is one thing fans don’t appreciate in this sport, it is a fighter consistently missing weight.
Fortunately, Dern will be given a fresh start when she returns. Her pregnancy was a much needed break from criticism and now when she walks to the octagon this week, the fans will be ready to get back on board her title hopes.
Her opponent for the event will be Amanda Ribas (7-1) who had a successful UFC debut in her last contest with a submission win over TUF alumni Emily Whitmire. The fellow Brazilian will pose a tough return for the relatively inexperienced Dern.
Oddly, she is returning back to strawweight. If had been expected she would move up to flyweight with opportunities presenting in that division to quickly climb to the top, but that won’t be the case.
Her child was born on June 9th, just four months before October 12th and the period between her birth and the fight seems short but only she knows how she feels.
Dern must make weight though to have the return she needs and wants. Another weight miss could see her be completely erased from a UFC marketing push.
Ultimately, UFC Tampa could be make or break for Dern’s career. A successful return with no weight issues would set her up for a year in 2020 that will see pushed by the UFC to strawweight gold.