Apr 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Rose Namajunas (red) and Michelle Waterson (not pictured) fight during UFC Fight Night at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Rose Namajunas Keeping an Eye on Mackenzie Dern But Critical of Her Weight Cutting Problem

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas likes the idea of testing her grappling against Mackenzie Dern but first things first, she really has to get her weight cutting problem in check.

UFC strawweight champion Rose Namajunas always has her eyes on potential opponents, even those who are just starting out their careers inside the Octagon

A prime example would be Namajunas watching grappling prodigy Mackenzie Dern picking up her second UFC win this past weekend as she knocked down and then submitted Amanda Cooper in the opening round of their matchup in Brazil.

Dern was dominant from start to finish but she also received a mountain of criticism for coming into the fight seven pounds over the strawweight limit.

As great as she looked in her win, Namajunas admits that coming in nearly a weight class bigger than your opponent is almost assuredly going to have a positive affect on your performance.

“Especially cause that right hand that she threw, looked like that was a big old girl throwing that punch,” Namajunas said about Dern when speaking to “UFC Unfiltered”. “That might have made a difference. That was a heavy punch and that was from a heavy girl. Not to say that’s not her punch and that’s not a dangerous punch but maybe that would have been a little bit different had she made weight or at least give an effort to make weight.”

Despite the weight problems, Dern is widely considered one of the top prospects on the UFC roster after transitioning to mixed martial arts following a very successful career competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

As a submission specialist in her own right, Namajunas admits that matching her skills against Dern would make for a very interesting fight.

That said, Namajunas knows that Dern is still a long way from title contention, not to mention the fact that she has to get her weight cutting problem in check or she may not even be allowed to compete in the strawweight division for much longer.

“I thought other than the weight issue, she looked great. That is something I’ve always wanted to test my jiu-jitsu against. That would be awesome,” Namajunas said about Dern. “She’s just got to get her s–t together and then maybe that would be down the road but of course she beat Gabi Garcia in a jiu-jitsu match so that would be awesome. She obviously can strike a little bit. She at least has that heavy first step that a wrestler has sometimes, they’ve got that good right hand. You can tell that she’s kind of got that style developing.

“It will be interesting to see if she can fix her issues that maybe she could be a future contender.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.
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