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‘She doesn’t need to be afraid of her past’: Inside the body transformation of Mackenzie Dern

Mackenzie Dern
Mackenzie Dern
Zuffa LLC

Mackenzie Dern struggled to make weight for MMA bouts earlier in her career, coming in over the limit more than once. That concern, however, seems to be a thing of the past.

Displaying phenomenal shape since returning from pregnancy in 2019, Dern has transformed her body with the assistance of experienced conditioning coach Rogerio Camoes, who previously worked with middleweight legend Anderson Silva throughout his historic reign in the UFC.

Dern, the No. 5 strawweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, is set to return against Tecia Torres at UFC 273 this Saturday, and Camoes, who has been working with Dern for her past two bouts, promises no drama at Friday’s official weigh-ins in Jacksonville, Fla.

“She doesn’t need to be afraid of her past and her weight cut, the times it didn’t work out,” Camoes told MMA Fighting. “Today, the reality of Mackenzie regarding weight cutting is completely different because of the work we’ve done for a year. This is my third camp with Mackenzie, and over this period of time she has caught everyone’s attention because of her shape, completely renewed, making weight really well and fighting really well, too. We’ve been working hard and, after a year, she has a completely different body composition.”

Mackenzie Dern and Rogerio Camoes

The “drastic” changes to her body, Camoes said, include reducing her body fat by 50 percent and gaining 11 pounds of muscle without changing her walk-around weight of 123.5 pounds.

“When I started working with Mackenzie, she weighed 123.5 pounds but had 22 percent body fat,” he said. “Now, she has the same weight but the great transformation was that she gained 11 pounds of muscle. And her body fat has dropped immensely. The last evaluation we did, before we started cutting weight [for UFC 273], she had 11 percent body fat.”

Camoes first started working work with Dern ahead of her UFC win over Nina Nunes in April 2021 and the partnership resulted in an “excellent” weight cut. Six months later, even though Dern lost a five-round decision to Marina Rodriguez, the conditioning coach said her weight cut was “spectacular” because she hit the limit without using a sauna or bathtub, and woke up on Friday morning already on weight.

“Mackenzie has no need to worry about her weight cut now,” Camoes said, “because she has transformed herself into an athlete with a whole team behind her, with myself and her nutritionist, Dr. Katia Nogueira. That gives her more confidence.”

For the Torres clash in Jacksonville, Camoes said they have done gone through an “experience” to make sure Dern is stronger inside the octagon, since they view wrestling to be one of Torres’ strengths.

“I have no doubt she will take this fight wherever she wants and come out with the victory,” Camoes said of Dern. “She has the physical condition to take [Torres] wherever and end this fight with her hands raised.”