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UFC Weight Classes(Divisions) Explained

UFC Roster, and in general, all MMA Rosters are divided on the basis of Weight classes. A fighter can only face another fighter in the same weight class in a match. Like, a heavyweight fighter can only face another fighter that exist in the heavyweight class only, and a fighter from lightweight can only face another lightweight fighter.

Read on to know more about the weight classes in UFC and different weight divisions for men and women’s roster.

Weight DivisionMin Weigh-in WeightMax Weigh-in WeightCurrent Champion
Men’s Heavyweight205 lbs (93 kg)265 lbs (120.2 kg)Francis Ngannou
Men’s Light Heavyweight185 lbs (83.9 kg)205 lbs (93.0 kg)Jan Blachowicz
Men’s Middleweight170 lbs (77.1 kg)185 lbs (83.9 kg)Israel Adesanya
Men’s Welterweight155 lbs (70.3 kg)170 lbs (77.1 kg)Kamaru Usman
Men’s Lightweight145 lbs (65.8 kg)155 lbs (70.3 kg)Charles Oliveira
Men’s Featherweight135 lbs (61.2 kg)145 lbs (65.8 kg)Alexander Volkanovski
Men’s Bantamweight125 lbs (56.7 kg)135 lbs (61.2 kg)Aljamain Sterling
Men’s Flyweight115 lbs (52.2 kg)125 lbs (56.7 kg)Brandon Moreno
Women’s Featherweight135 lbs (61.2 kg)145 lbs (65.8 kg)Amanda Nunes
Women’s Bantamweight125 lbs (56.7 kg)135 lbs (61.2 kg)Amanda Nunes
Women’s Flyweight115 lbs (52.2 kg)125 lbs (56.7 kg)Valentina Shevchenko
Women’s StrawweightNone115 lbs (52.2 kg)Rose Namajunas

When were Weight Classes Introduced in UFC?

UFC introduced weight classes on 7 February 1997, starting from UFC 12. Originally, only two weight classes were defined- Heavyweight(200 lbs and over) and Lightweight(199 and under it). The Lightweight division was renamed as Middleweight from UFC 14(27 July 1997). The Lightweight division returned at UFC 16 and encompassed everything under 170 lbs. On 9 June 2000, the Bantamweight division was added at UFC 26, with the fighters categorized under 155 lbs.

UFC realigned its weight classes as per New York State Athletic Commission at UFC 31 on 4 May 2001. This meant UFC now had one more division- Light Heavyweight. All these weight classes were categorized similarly to their current classification.

After merging with World Extreme Cagefighting in 2010, UFC introduced two more weight classes – Bantamweight and Featherweight. The weight classes were added at the Ultimate Fighter Season 12 Finale on 4 December 2010. The Flyweight division was introduced starting from UFC on FX: Alves vs Kampmann on 3 March 2012.

The Bantamweight Division was the first women’s division to be introduced in UFC after Strikeforce was formally dissolved into UFC in 2012. The division’s journey began at UFC 157 on 23 February 2013 with the Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche title fight. Women’s Strawweight was added in July 2014 and Featherweight division was introduced in February 2017. The women’s Flyweight division was also added later in 2017.

Why are UFC Divisions split by Weight?

UFC Divisions are split by weight so that the fighters would only be pitted against similar fighters. A difference in weight or overall size would give an undue advantage to the bigger fighter. It will also increase the chances of severe injuries to the fighter with a smaller size.

Weight classes eliminate this disparity and ensure that only a fighter’s skill remains the sole criteria in determining the winner. It also ensures that a top skilled fighter could become a champion regardless of being smaller in size.

Future UFC Weight Classes

Three weight classes do not exist in UFC men’s division that are part of USADA and SACB. So, in the future, we may see Super Heavyweight division(over 265 lb or 120.2 kg), Strawweight division(105 to 115 lbs) and Atomweight division(under 105 lb or 47.6 kg) in UFC.

In the women’s division also, there are currently just four weight classes. We could see the Lightweight and Atomweight division for women’s roster to be introduced in UFC soon.

What is Weight Cutting in the UFC?

Weight cutting is the practice of losing weight rapidly to meet the weight requirement for a weight class before a fight. There are primarily two methods for weight cutting- 1. To lose weight in the form of fat and muscle mass, 2. To lose weight in the form of water(staying dehydrated).

What Happens if a UFC Fighter Misses Weight?

In case a UFC fighter overweights during the pre-fight weigh-in, he becomes ineligible to win the title during that particular fight. The fighter would also have to give certain amount from his fight purse(ranging from 20% to 50%). The condition regarding the purse is also true for a non-title fight.

How Many Weight Classes in the UFC?

9 – There are currently 9 weight classes in total in UFC.
8 for men’s division – heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight and flyweight.
4 for women’s division – featherweight, bantamweight, flyweight and strawweight.

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