When UFC 224 comes around next week in Rio, all eyes are on the UFC’s top new female prospect in Mackenzie Dern.
Not only is she on the night’s main pay-per-view card in only her second UFC bout, but she’s fighting infront of her father for the first time, and in her hometown for the first time as well.
All signs point to an opportunity to seize a career defining moment, but in Dern’s way is the very dangerous Amanda Bobby Cooper.
Cooper is formidable to say the least, and poses a real threat to the unbeaten record of the BJJ mega-star in Dern.
Now, during today’s pre-fight media luncheon, Dern revealed that with all these added pressures, she’s added another by leaving her longtime training home, due to not wanting to travel there.
Here’s what she said:
“In relation with the Lab, after my last fight, Coach [John] Crouch, he just invited me to leave the team. 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.”
“It’s nothing 100 percent or anything like that, but for this camp I’ve been working with them and I’m feeling so good.”
“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.”
“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.”
“I think, like I said, the mindset and being confident, if you’re happy, too, with where you are, it’s the best. 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.”
“I’m not just training. I’m not the person that the next day I’m back in the academy. 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.”
“Definitely not back to Arizona.”
Here’s her full media luncheon scrum: