What Are the UFC Weight Classes? (Explained With Tables)

Step into the world of mixed martial arts (MMA) and witness the intricate dance of power, technique, and strategy.

In this captivating realm, the UFC weight classes serve as the ultimate equalizer, ensuring fair and exhilarating battles between fighters of similar size and weight. With 12 divisions, including 8 for men and 4 for women, the UFC has meticulously crafted a system that showcases the brilliance of skill and natural ability.

Join us as we explore the history, purpose, and workings of these weight classes, and delve into the potential for new divisions.

Key Takeaways

  • There are 12 weight class divisions in the UFC, 8 for men and 4 for women.
  • UFC weight classes range from strawweight to heavyweight for men, and strawweight to featherweight for women.
  • The purpose of UFC weight classes is to neutralize the advantage of extra weight, increase promotion and revenue, and organize the promotion.
  • The UFC introduced weight class divisions in 1997, starting with lightweight and heavyweight divisions, and later introducing middleweight, welterweight, and light heavyweight divisions.

UFC Weight Classes for Men

The UFC has eight weight classes for men, ranging from strawweight to heavyweight. These weight classes provide a structured framework for fighters to compete against opponents of similar size and weight. Each weight class has specific weight limits and regulations that fighters must adhere to.

For the strawweight division, fighters must weigh no more than 115 pounds. The flyweight division has a limit of 125 pounds, while the bantamweight division allows fighters up to 135 pounds. The featherweight division has a limit of 145 pounds, while the lightweight division allows up to 155 pounds. The welterweight division has a limit of 170 pounds, while the middleweight division allows up to 185 pounds.

UFC Weight Classes for Women

Moving on to the UFC weight classes for women, there are four divisions in which female fighters compete: strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight. Each division has its own weight range, allowing fighters to compete against opponents of similar size and strength. The introduction of weight classes for women in the UFC has brought several advantages.

Advantages of women's weight classes:

  • Fairness: Weight classes neutralize the advantage of extra weight, ensuring that fights are more about skill and natural ability rather than sheer size.
  • Opportunities: With separate divisions, female fighters have more opportunities to compete for titles and become champions in their respective weight classes.
  • Recognition: The establishment of women's weight classes has helped organize the promotion and make it easier for fans to identify fighters and determine the best in each division.

The evolution of women's weight classes in the UFC has been remarkable. From the creation of the bantamweight division in 2012 with Ronda Rousey as the first champion, to the addition of strawweight, flyweight, and featherweight divisions, the UFC has provided female fighters with a platform to showcase their skills and pursue greatness. The growth and development of women's MMA has been instrumental in expanding the sport and attracting a wider audience.

Comparison to Other MMA Promotions

When comparing the UFC weight classes to those of other MMA promotions, it is important to note that the UFC has 12 weight class divisions, while other promotions may have fewer or different divisions. For instance, Bellator, another prominent MMA promotion, has 9 weight class divisions (7 for men and 2 for women). On the other hand, One Championship, a popular MMA organization in Asia, features 13 weight classes (9 for men and 4 for women), with some variations compared to the UFC. To provide a clearer picture, let's take a look at the comparison between the UFC, Bellator, and One Championship weight classes in the table below:

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Promotion Men's Weight Classes Women's Weight Classes
UFC 8 4
Bellator 7 2
One Championship 9 4

These variations in weight class divisions among different MMA promotions provide fighters and fans with a diverse range of opportunities to showcase their skills and compete against opponents of similar size and weight.

Purpose of UFC Weight Classes

UFC weight classes serve to level the playing field by neutralizing the advantage of extra weight, emphasizing skill and natural ability in fights. This brings several advantages to the sport and the fighters involved.

Advantages of weight classes:

  • Fair competition: Weight classes ensure that fighters are matched against opponents of similar size and strength, preventing unfair advantages and creating a more balanced competition.
  • Fighter safety: By competing against opponents of similar size, fighters are less likely to sustain serious injuries caused by significant weight disparities. This promotes the overall safety and well-being of the fighters.
  • Enhanced skill development: Weight classes encourage fighters to focus on honing their technique, strategy, and overall skill set, rather than relying solely on size and strength advantages. This leads to the development of more well-rounded fighters and more exciting, technical fights.

The impact of weight classes on fighter safety cannot be overstated. By eliminating extreme weight differences between opponents, the risk of severe injuries is significantly reduced. Additionally, weight classes promote fair competition and allow fighters to focus on improving their skills rather than relying solely on their physical attributes.

The implementation of weight classes in the UFC has had a positive impact on the sport, allowing for more strategic and exciting fights while prioritizing the safety and well-being of the fighters.

Introduction and History of UFC Weight Classes

The implementation of weight classes in professional mixed martial arts (MMA), specifically in the UFC, has had a significant impact on the sport's development and the way fights are organized and conducted. The evolution of UFC weight classes can be traced back to UFC 12 in 1997, where the lightweight and heavyweight divisions were introduced.

Prior to this, all UFC events were openweight tournaments with minimal rules and no weight classes. The introduction of weight classes allowed for a more organized and fair competition, neutralizing the advantage of extra weight and making fights more about skill and natural ability.

However, the impact of weight cutting in UFC fighters' health has been a concern. Cutting weight is the process of losing water weight before weigh-ins, often leading to extreme measures that can be detrimental to fighters' well-being. The UFC has taken steps to address this issue by implementing stricter regulations and monitoring weight cutting practices.

The history of UFC weight classes showcases the sport's evolution and commitment to the well-being and fairness of its athletes.

Miscellaneous Topics

Introduction of the Women's UFC Weight Classes marked a significant milestone in the sport's history. Women now compete in four divisions: strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight.

Ronda Rousey, the first bantamweight champion, had a tremendous impact on the sport. She became the undisputed champion in December 2012, and her first UFC fight against Liz Carmouche in 2013 was a groundbreaking moment.

However, along with the introduction of weight classes, controversies in weight cutting have arisen. Cutting weight is the process of losing water weight before weigh-ins, and it is done to fight in a lower weight division. Unfortunately, extreme weight cutting has led to fighters missing weight, which can result in fights being moved to a different weight class or fought at catchweight.

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The UFC continues to address these issues to ensure the safety and fairness of the sport.

How Do UFC Weight Classes Work

UFC weight classes operate by assigning fighters to specific divisions based on their weight. Each weight class has a minimum and maximum weight limit, ensuring fair competition and preventing fighters from having an unfair advantage due to extra weight. Fighters must attend a weigh-in the day before the fight to ensure they meet the weight class limit.

The weight limits vary based on the division and whether it's a title fight or non-title fight. If a fighter misses the weight limit, the fight may be moved to the next weight class above or fought at catchweight, which falls outside of the weight class divisions. Champions who miss weight are stripped of their title, while challengers who miss weight cannot win the championship title and belt.

Additionally, fighters who miss weight also forfeit a percentage of their purse. The weigh-in procedures are crucial in maintaining the integrity of the weight classes and ensuring fair competition.

Cutting Weight in the UFC

Now, delving into the process of cutting weight in the UFC, fighters undergo a method of losing water weight before weigh-ins. This practice is done in order to fight in a lower weight division. However, cutting weight has a significant impact on fighter health and can lead to dangerous consequences.

Here are the key points to understand about weight cutting in the UFC:

  • The impact of weight cutting on fighter health:
  • Cutting weight often involves extreme measures such as dehydration, sauna sessions, and excessive exercise, which can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and impaired performance.
  • Rapid weight loss can also cause electrolyte imbalances, kidney damage, and cardiovascular issues.
  • Fighters may experience difficulty recovering after weight cutting, which can affect their overall performance in the octagon.
  • The role of weight classes in promoting fair matchups:
  • Weight classes are designed to level the playing field by ensuring that fighters compete against opponents of similar size and strength.
  • Without weight classes, fighters with significant weight advantages would have an unfair advantage over smaller opponents.
  • Weight classes create a more level and competitive environment, enhancing the integrity of the sport.

It is crucial for fighters to approach weight cutting with caution and prioritize their long-term health over short-term advantages in the octagon. The UFC continues to monitor and address weight cutting practices to promote the well-being of its athletes.

Potential New Weight Classes in the UFC

Exploring the possibility of introducing new weight classes in the UFC, there has been speculation surrounding the potential addition of a 165 lbs super lightweight division. This weight class would bridge the gap between the current lightweight (155 lbs) and welterweight (170 lbs) divisions, providing fighters with a more suitable option for their natural weight. Many fighters have expressed their desire for a 165 lbs division, as they feel more comfortable and healthier competing at this weight range.

To give you a clearer picture, here is a table showcasing the potential new weight classes in the UFC:

Division Weight Limit (lbs)
Strawweight Up to 115
Flyweight Up to 125
Bantamweight Up to 135
Featherweight Up to 145
Lightweight Up to 155
Super Lightweight (Proposed) Up to 165
Welterweight Up to 170
Middleweight Up to 185
Light Heavyweight Up to 205
Heavyweight Over 205
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Despite the interest from fighters and fans, UFC President Dana White has been reluctant to introduce new weight classes. He believes that adding more divisions would make the sport more like boxing and potentially complicate the matchmaking process. As of now, the UFC has not announced any plans to introduce a 165 lbs super lightweight division.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are UFC Weight Class Divisions Determined?

UFC weight class divisions are determined based on specific minimum and maximum weight limits. Fighters must meet these limits during weigh-ins before their scheduled fights. The divisions are designed to neutralize weight advantages and promote fair competition.

Are There Any Restrictions on Fighters Moving Between Weight Classes?

There are restrictions on fighters moving between weight classes in the UFC. Moving up in weight can provide advantages such as increased power, while moving down can increase speed and agility. However, there are disadvantages such as potential size and strength disadvantages.

What Happens if a Fighter Is Unable to Make Weight for a Catchweight Fight?

When a fighter is unable to make weight for a catchweight fight, the consequences can include the fight being moved to the next weight class or fought at catchweight. In addition, the fighter may be stripped of their title and lose a percentage of their purse. Catchweight fights are arranged by negotiating a specific weight between the fighters.

Are There Any Weight Classes in the UFC That Have Been Discontinued or Merged?

There have been no discontinued or merged weight classes in the UFC. The UFC currently maintains its 12 weight class divisions for men and women, providing a clear structure for fighters and fans alike.

How Are Interim Champions Determined in the Ufc?

Determining interim champions in the UFC involves selecting top contenders to compete for the interim title when the current champion is unable to defend their belt. This practice is not unique to the UFC and is also seen in other combat sports.


In conclusion, the UFC weight classes are a vital component of the sport of mixed martial arts. They ensure fair competition by matching fighters of similar size and weight, promoting skill and natural ability over sheer size.

The introduction of weight classes has allowed for the crowning of more champions, increasing the frequency of fights and generating revenue for the organization.

With the potential for the introduction of new weight classes, the UFC continues to evolve and adapt to the changing landscape of the sport.

Mike Williams
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