EXCLUSIVE | Amanda Cooper on opponent Mackenzie Dern: “It blows my mind that she’s made it as far as she has”

At UFC 224, which goes on on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Amanda Cooper will serve as the sophomore UFC opponent of highly hyped grappling star Mackenzie Dern.

While there is quite a bit of hype attached to Dern’s name at present, Cooper isn’t buying it. In fact, she believes Dern is quite overrated—even in the grappling department.

“She’s not much of a grappler,” Cooper said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “She likes to stand up in a fight. On the ground she’s like a point-fighter, you know? She’s not a crazy good martial artist. She’s very good at jiu jitsu, incredibly good at jitsu—I might have to take that away from her—but her mixed martial arts is what’s lacking. I don’t see a lot of good takedowns ever. I don’t see good wrestling, I don’t see good stand-up. She’s very predictable, [she] throws the exact same combination over and over again. It blows my mind that she’s made it as far as she has with the lack of wrestling, [not] being able to take people down. It’s a perfect fight for fans. They love striker versus grappler situations, but the wrestling, the judo, the takedowns is what’s going to determine the fight, and if she can’t get me to the ground it’s going to be a bad night for her.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cooper says she wasn’t impressed by Dern’s recent UFC debut—a decision defeat of Ashley Yoder.

“I did watch it, I wasn’t impressed,” she said. “Like I said, [it’s] the same predictable strikes she throws. Her wrestling isn’t explosive. She’s not an athletic girl. She’s very good at jiu jitsu but everything else is … there’s so many holes in her game and she’s fighting every two months. There’s no way to fill in those gaps, there’s no way to fill in those holes in that short of a time. So it’s great for me because all I do every day is grapple now, and obviously, I believe that’s what she does, but she’s not doing any other things to fill in her gaps.”

Do you think Amanda Cooper can end the undefeated run of Mackenzie Dern at UFC 224?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 4/5/2018.

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