UFC Weight Classes Explained - Frequently Asked Questions about UFC Weight Classes (2023)

UFC Weight Classes Explained - Frequently Asked Questions about UFC Weight Classes (1)

MMA is a martial art that includes 15 weight classes as per the Unified Rules of the 2000s. However, the UFC is not obligated to include them all, so there are "only" 8 weight classes for male and female fighters. 4 for female wrestlers.

Each UFC fighter competes in a division where they fight opponents of similar weight and size, and can also move up or down in weight to change their weight class.

Continue reading this article to learn more about UFC weight classes and how this system works.

UFC Weight Classes (Divisions) Explained: Pounds, Kilograms, and St

The following are 8 UFC classes for men and 4 for women:

UFC weight classes for men

weight classminimum weightMaximum weight
flyweight115 libras; 52,2kg; 8.2125 libras; 56,7kg; Rua 8.9
roosterweight125 pounds; 56.7kg; Rua 8.9135 libras; 61,2kg; 9.6
pena135 libras; 61,2kg; 9.6145 libras; 65,8kg; 10.3
Licht145 libras; 65,8kg; 10.3155 pounds; 70.3kg; 11
Welterweight155 pounds; 70.3kg; 11170 libras; 77,1kg; 12.1
average weight170 pounds; 77.1kg; 12.1185 libras; 83,9kg; 13.2
light heavyweight185 libras; 83,9kg; 13.2205 pounds; 93kg; 14.6
Heavyweight205 pounds; 93kg; 14.6265 libras; 120,2kg; 18.9

Categorias de peso do UFC para mulheres

weight classminimum weightMaximum weight
straw weightnone115 libras; 52,2kg; 8.2
peso mosca115 libras; 52,2kg; 8.2125 pounds; 56.7kg; Rua 8.9
roosterweight125 pounds; 56.7kg; Rua 8.9135 libras; 61,2kg; 9.6
pena135 libras; 61,2kg; 9.6145 Wagons; 65.8 kg; 10.3

When did the UFC add weight classes?

The UFC introduced the weight classes at the UFC 12 event held in Dothan, Alabama in 1997. Originally, there were only two divisions:

  • Licht— for wrestlers weighing less than 200 pounds
  • Heavyweight— for fighters weighing more than 200 pounds.

Embora não fosse uma solução ideal, foi um ponto de partida para as grandes mudanças que viriam poucos anos depois.

The biggest change came in 2000, when the UFC began working with athletic commissions across the United States to regulate the sport. The New Jersey State Athletic Commission was the first to name the solution and ruleset "Mixed martial arts uniform rules“.

(Video) Every UFC Division Ranked From Worst to Best

Among many rules and changes, the biggest was the birth of 15 weight classes. Note that promotions do not need to implement all 15 splits. That's why the UFC has 8 weight classes for men and 4 for women. But if you want, you can always add more departments.

What was the UFC openweight division?

Before weight classes came along in 1997, UFC events were open weight tournaments. Or, in other words, there were no upper or lower weight limits, meaning fighters could compete at any weight.

if thatUFC started for the first time, Os lutadores do UFC geralmente lutavam contra oponentes muito maiores e mais pesados, que geralmente eram muito perigosos. Por outro lado, isso era normal naquela época, pois os eventos do UFC eram anunciados como locais legais para lutas de rua, sem regras ou restrições de peso. Não importava se um lutador pesava 170 ou 500 libras, o UFC permitia que qualquer um entrasse e competisse sob regras limitadas.

In one of these odd fights, 200-pound karate expert Keith Hackney beat 300-pound sumo wrestler Emmanuel Yarbrough at UFC 3. The other good example isRoyce Gracie, arguably the most important figure in UFC history. He used to weigh around 175 pounds, but his opponents were often twice his height.

Os primeiros anos do UFCthey were very dangerous and even barbaric in a way. The interest in the sport existed, but there was no way for this type of event to be legalized in all states and around the world. Because of this, the UFC decided to push for regulation and make drastic rule changes in 1997 when it abolished the openweight division.

Why do UFC/MMA have weight classes?

The purpose of weight classes is to make competition fair, fair and safe. Within a weight class, all fighters are similar in terms of weight, height and height, none of the fighters enjoy a large size advantage that can affect the outcome of the fight.

For example, former 125-pound flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has long been the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. But what do you think would happen if there were no weight classes and Johnson was up against someone like Brock Lesnar who weighed over 250 pounds? Yes, Johnson could be more technical, more talented and faster, but Lesnar would brutally attack him. Therefore, in order to keep competition fair, differentiated weight categories are created so that fighters can fight in the closest weight category to their natural weight and face opponents of similar size.

(Video) The 10 Wisest Weight Class Changes in MMA/UFC History

Each weight class in the UFC has a name and minimum and maximum weight limits. For example, the lower weight limit for the lightweight classes is 145 pounds, while the upper limit is 155 pounds. A lightweight fighter must weigh within these limits at the official weigh-in, which takes place approximately 24 hours before the event.

If it's a non-title fight, they can't lose cap by more than 1 pound. If it is a title match, both fighters must reach the ladder at or below the upper limit. The procedure is the same for all other weight classes.

In the early days of the UFC, there were no weight restrictions, leading to bizarre matchups where the fighter was twice the size of the opponent. In addition to giving the fighter a huge advantage and therefore a greater chance of winning, it is also very dangerous. Heavier fighters can generate more power from punches and grapples, and can injure the smaller fighter much more easily than vice versa.

Despite the weight restrictions, some boxers would still have greater reach, be taller or weigh more on fight night. But these differences are insignificant compared to the times when there were no weight classes.

Outro motivo é que o UFC ou qualquer outra promoção de MMA deve ter classes de peso para realizar eventos legais. Caso contrário, o UFC seria banido em quase todos os estados dos EUA e, portanto, também no mundo.

Are boxing and UFC/MMA weight classes the same?

No, the weight classes are very different between boxing and MMA, both in number of divisions and weight limits. Here is a detailed explanation of the table:

classe de pesoboxing (limite de peso superior)mixed martial arts (limite de peso superior)
muito difícil*only in amateur boxingUnlimited
HeavyweightIlimitado265 pounds; 120 kilos
cruiser weight
200 pounds; 90 kilos225 Libra; 102kg
light heavyweight175 Waagen; 79kg205 pounds; 93kg
super average168 scales; 76kg195 libras; 88,5kg
average weight160 libras; 72,5kg185 Waagen; 84kg
super welterweight154 pounds; 70kg175 libras; 79,5kg
Welterweight147 libras; 66,5kg170 pounds; 77 kilos
Super live140 libras; 63,5kg165 pounds; 75kg
Licht135 pounds; 61kg155 pounds; 70kg
superpluma130 pounds; 59kg/
pena126 Waagen; 57kg145 scales; 66kg
supergallo122 Waagen; 55kg/
roosterweight118 libras; 53,5kg135 pounds; 61kg
supermosca115 Waagen; 52kg/
flyweight112 pounds; 51kg125 libras; 56,5kg
straw weight/115 Waagen; 52kg
light flyweight108 scales; 49kg/
flyweight105 scales; 48kg/
Minimum light weight (atomic weight)102 quilos; 46kg105 scales; 48kg

Can fighters change weight classes in the UFC?

Yes, UFC fighters can move up and down in weight to compete in different weight classes as long as they meet the upper and lower weight limits for that specific weight class. Of course, they also do that as long as promotion or relegation makes sense professionally and in terms of performance. For example, UFC 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman can theoretically move up and fight in a 205-pound division, but that's not a good idea in terms of chances of winning.

There are many reasons why a fighter might switch weight classes. One of the main reasons is the brutal weight loss and the effects this process has on their bodies. At some point in his career, a fighter no longer has the ability to lose so much weight without consequences, forcing him to move up to a category where he would lose less weight. One of these fighters isDarren upHe used to struggle a lot to reach 170lbs. At one point, he decided to step up and compete in the 185-pound division.

(Video) Pound For Pound Explained

On the other hand, some fighters lose weight because they believe they will be more successful playing in the lower league against similarly sized or smaller opponents.

Which UFC weight class has the most fighters?

As of 2022, the UFC lightweight division (70 kg).has 111 active fighters, which is the maximum of all weight classes. The second is a welterweight (170 pounds; 77 kg) with 109 fighters on the roster. In the women's category, strawweight is in first place with 47 fighters, and flyweight with 45 fighters.

Which UFC weight class has the most knockouts?

The UFC heavyweight division has always been associated with devastating knockouts that thethe statisticsis clearly confirmed. About 50% of all heavyweight fights end in a knockout, which isn't a huge surprise considering that nearly all heavyweights have enough muscle to pull off a one-punch knockout. In second place is the light heavyweight division, where about 42% of fights end in knockouts, followed by middleweight with 35% and welterweight with 32%.

Why are UFC fighters losing weight?

UFC fighters have dropped weight to compete in an underweight weight class. They do this to gain a physical advantage in height, weight, reach, and therefore strength and power over opponents. Shelose up to 40 kilosin a week before a fight and regain most of that weight in less than 24 hours before the fight starts.

But remember that losing a lot of weight is a modern practice practiced by almost all fighters in the UFC or other promotions. As long as the rules give fighters enough time to rehydrate and recover, they will definitely continue to lose weight.

This means that, despite the brutal reduction in weight, the fighters end up facing opponents of similar size who have done the same.

However, this is not always the case as there have been some exceptions. For example, some boxers like Darren Till may lose more weight than others and gain a size advantage. Till used to fight in the 170-pound weight class, where he was much taller than his opponents. The other great example is Conor McGregor who previously dropped to 145lbs where he had a huge size and strength advantage.

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Why are UFC fighters losing weight so late?

Most UFC fighters start losing weight a few weeks before the event while still in training camp. However, they lose more weight, between 20 and 40 pounds in a week before a fight. You do this when you are extremely dehydrated because getting rid of the water in your body is the only way to lose so much weight in such a short amount of time. When they recover from cutting, most of the weight they gain back is actually water.

(Video) Q&A: UFC without weight classes. Patellar tendinitis. Wimps beating multiple opponents.

You do it "late" or just before an event because you can't control dehydration, and you extend the process to a few weeks simply because that's not possible.Not drinking enough fluids for weeks and still exercising intensely is dangerous and can affect your health.

What happens when a UFC fighter loses weight?

If a UFC fighter loses weight on their first attempt, the commission would give the fighter an additional 1-2 hours to shed the extra pounds. In most cases, an hour or two is more than enough for a fighter to lose 0.5 or even 1 pound and pass the scale.

If a fighter loses weight on the second attempt, the UFC would ask the opponent to do a middleweight bout to save the fight. If the starter weighed 155 pounds, the agreed upon weight would be around 160 or 165 pounds, depending on the circumstances.

If the opponent agrees, which they do in most cases, the sports commission overseeing the event must approve the fight (which they do in most cases) and the fight begins. A fighter who gained weight lost 20-30% of the fight money and gave it to the opponent who gained weight and agreed to fight at middleweight.

KEEP READING:What happens when a UFC fighter loses weight? fully explained

Do UFC heavyweights slim down?

Yes, throughout MMA history there have been many UFC heavyweights who have had to cut weight to reach the 265-pound ceiling. One of the most famous heavyweights to lose weight in the past was former UFC champion and WWE champion Brock Lesnar, who used to run 280 to 290 pounds.

KEEP READING:Why is there a weight limit for UFC heavyweight fighters? common questions

Who is the heaviest UFC fighter that has ever fought?

The heaviest UFC fighter of all timeEmmanuel Yarbroughwho wrestled in the early days of the promotion when there were no rules or weight classes. This behemoth entered the cage weighing over 600lbs to take on fighters many times twice his size, like Keith Hackney who weighed in at 200lbs. Despite such a dramatic weight difference, Hackney managed to beat Yarbrough at UFC 3.

UFC Weight Classes Explained - Frequently Asked Questions about UFC Weight Classes (2)

Today's UFC has the maximum weight limit for heavyweights, which is 265 pounds. But keep in mind that many of them lose weight to pass the scale and then put it back on before the fight starts. Or in other words, they weigh over 265 pounds on fight night. Some of the hardest are

(Video) Joe Rogan on the Problems with Weight Cutting in the UFC

  • Brock Lesnar - about 280 to 285 pounds
  • Derrick Lewis - about 280 pounds or more
  • Antonio Bigfoot Silva - 280-285 pounds

What are catch weights?

A UFC catch weight is the weight agreed upon by both fighters who do not adhere to the limits of their assigned weight classes. For example, a 155-pound fighter and a 170-pound fighter might agree to fight at 165 pounds.

Read for sure"What is catchweight in the UFC? Easily explained.This article explains everything you need to know about UFC catchweight.


The main goal of weight classes in UFC or any other combat sport is to level the playing field and make it safer. The existence of weight classes allows wrestlers to compete against opponents of similar weight and height and prevents wrestlers from having an unfair size advantage.


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