UFC Weight Divisions – Explained

Sports and in this case the UFC is practiced by different individuals, to accommodate the differences in strengths, sizes and ability of the combatants.

In the early history of the UFC, all interested combatants were made to fight against each other, regardless of the limitations and special abilities of the different fighters; this created an imbalance and made victory easy for some fighters. Having seen the folly in this arrangement, four years later, the UFC divided their fighters into 12 classes to accommodate different combatants. Ever since the UFC divided the combatants into various classes, the game seems more organized and fair. Nevertheless, the game has still continued to witness casualties as some of the matches have even turned very bloody.

The fighters were divided into groups according to their weights. Combatants that weighed 200 pounds and more were grouped in the heavyweight class of fighters. Then those that weighed less than these were grouped into the lightweight fighters. 

Currently, the UFC has 12 divisions of fighters. 8 were for the exclusive preserve of the men and the other 4 for the women. These classes will be explained below:

1. Heavyweight 

The heavyweight section of the UFC fights is reserved for fighters who weigh between 206-265Lb. This interpretation is generally accepted and defined by a combatant organization like the Nevada State Athletic Commission. 

The current champion of this division for the UFC is Francis Ngannou, and he has held the position since March 28, 2021. This is an interesting division to watch in the UFC. The sheer thrill of seeing these bigger fighters take swipes and punches at each other in an attempt to defeat their opponent in the cage.is quite a sight.

Also read: Top 10 Longest UFC Winning Streaks

2. Light Heavyweight

This division is the exclusive preserve for combatants that weigh 185 Lb to 205 Lb. (83.9kg).

This class of fighter’s weight sits in between the middleweight and the heavyweight class. The fighters in this category are quite unique in their weight class, the light heavyweight championship class is one of the favorites for the viewers of the UFC.

Throughout the course of the UFC many champions have held the prestigious title, but currently the champion of the Light Heavyweight class is Jan Blachowics, his reign began on the 27th of September 2020.

3. Middleweight 

For every grouping, there is always a middle ground that is exactly what this weight class stands for, in the case of the UFC, fighters that did not qualify to be grouped as heavy weight fighters or as lightweight fighters were grouped in this category. The introduction of this category of fighters was in September 2001, at the UF 33, with the first champion being Dave Menne. Ever since different champions have emerged at different times. The UFC tournament is held periodically and produces champions.

Fighters in this category are supposed to weigh within 171 Lb to 185 Lb. The current middleweight champion is Israel Adesanya; he defeated Robert Whitaker to clinch the envious position.

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4. Welterweight

This class of the Universal Fighting Championship embraces fighters that weigh from 156Lb to 170Lb. This is approximately 71 to 77kg. Although some other fighting sports in the UFC group this class of fighters are much lighter, making the UFC welterweight fighters heavier than those of other sports, like I have pointed out earlier, the UFC makes use of the Nevada State Athletic Commission ratings for the conduct of their sport. 

The current champion of the Welterweight class is a Nigerian Kamaru Usman. He defeated Tyron Woodrey; this earned him the prestigious title. He began his reign in March 2019. He is the first ever African-born fighter to clinch this title.

5. Lightweight

This is one of the pioneer weight divisions. Before the addition of the other classes, it was just the heavyweight and the lightweight class that was in use.

This is one of the very popular classes of fights in the UFC. It holds much appeal, techniques and styles in the UFC. Most fighters in this group are well skilled. At the onset of the division of the UFC, this class and the heavyweight class were the only available classes. Before ten more classes were created out of the two. This class of fighters in the UFC refers to fighters that weigh within the range of 146Lb to 155Lb which is approximately between 66 to 70kg.

After the UFC 49 championship, the lightweight class was discontinued and was only reinstated at the UFC 58 championship.

The current champion is Charles Oliveira. 

Also read: Has Anyone Ever Died in the UFC?

6. Men’s Featherweight

For men this size, it can be very intimidating when they are faced with bigger sized men, this fact is even more true when they are placed in the cage to fight with them. So this division according to their weight was a welcomed development.

The men’s featherweight division in the UFC is reserved for men that their upper body limits do not weigh more than 145 Lb which is approximately 66kg. 

It is generally agreed in America that featherweight fighters should weigh from 130Lbs to 145Lbs. Although there may be some slight variations, nevertheless, it is instructive to note that the UFC makes use of the Nevada rating for their fights.

The current champion for the featherweight class is Alexander Volkanovski. This man’s tenacity in his fights have endeared him to the viewers. This is another recent addition to the UFC tournament.

7. Men’s Bantamweight

The bantamweight division is strictly reserved for competitors that weigh within 126 Lb to 135 Lb which is approximately 61.3kg. The bantamweight division is in the middle of the very light flyweight division and the heavy featherweight division.

Although, quite earlier in the history of the bantamweight division, all fighters that weighed 150 pounds were known as Bantamweight fighters in the UFC, after UFC 31, the weight was increased to 155 Lbs. It was then included in the lightweight division of combatants.

The Bantamweight class is one of the recent additions to the UFC. Fighters in this class were relieved.

Also read: How Do UFC Fighters Cut Weight?

8. Men’ Flyweight 

The thoughtful categorization of fighters based on their sizes, led to the further division of lightweight fighters into flyweight fighters.

This class of UFC fight is reserved for fighters that weigh 116 Lb to 125 Lb (53 to 57kg). This class was introduced for those combatants that weigh much lower than the lightweight combatants. 

It would be unfair to put this category of fighters in the cage with other classes of fighters considering their small size.

The current champion of the Men’s Flyweight Division is Brandon Moreno. 

9. Women’s Featherweight 

In November 2012, when the management of the UFC announced the introduction of a new division of fighters known as the women’s featherweight category, it was a very welcomed development. It would have been pure horror for these smaller women to combat large sized women. The odds to get victory would have been very much against them, if not possible.

This division limits fighters to weigh between 136 Lb to 145 Lb.

Amanda Nunes is the current champion of this division and she began her reign on December 29, 2018. 

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10. Women’s Bantamweight 

The women’s bantamweight section is strictly reserved for women that weigh 126 Lb to 35 Lb (57 to 61kg) 

This section have produced great talent in the history of the UFC, 

This class of fighting weight is quite different from the others. Amanda Nunes defeated Megan Anderson to become the current champion of this division.

11. Women’s Flyweight 

This class of female fighters in the UFC weighs approximately 115 to 125 pounds.

This class of fighting is strictly reserved for women with very small stature that cannot compete with their bigger counterparts and still want to be a part of the game.

Despite the seeming unpopularity of this class of combat, things are beginning to look up with the flamboyant win of Valentina Shevchenko. Ever since she secured the championship title, she has defended and held on tenaciously to the belt.

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12. Strawweight

The strawweight division is reserved for fighters that weigh between 106 and 115Lbs. This is one of the lower classes of fighters; it is a fight class that is in the middle between the atom weight and the heavy weight classes.

Support for this class of fighters have gained momentum since 2013, formerly, they were grouped with the flyweight fighters. Now they have a class of their own where they can have fair combat with people of their size.

The current champion of the Strawweight division is a female from the United States of America named Rose Namajunas. She began her reign on the 24th of APRIL, 2021.

Going through the various classes of the UFC fighting tournament, it is very exciting and impressive; to see how the various fighters are grouped into various classes to avoid any mishap that may arise from pitching heavy bodied fighters against the lighter weight fighters. This could lead to serious injury or even death. Thankfully, no death has been recorded throughout the history of the UFC. 

This may probably be due to the thoughtful separation of the fighters into classes that suit their body size.

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