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Joe (MMA Hive) for MMA Hive

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UFC Weight Classes In Kg & Lbs Explained (Men & Women!)

Like most MMA competitions, the UFC matchups are organized for two opponents of the same weight to fight.

These weight classes are also sometimes called UFC weight divisions, and they separate fighters to be the best method of creating fair matchups. The same techniques are applied to men’s and women’s weight classes, though with a few differences for weight classes.

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short-list of UFC weight classes for men:

The UFC’s official weight classes for men are Strawweight, Flyweight, Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight, and (sometimes) Catchweight.

There can be some variety to these weight classes used in matchups, so keep reading to learn the full breakdown.

UFC Men’s Weight Classes In Order

MMA men fighting

This is the full list of different weight classes for the men’s division including their upper weight limit in kilograms and pounds:

Division UFC Weight Classes kg UFC Weight Classes lbs
Flyweight 56.7 kg 125 lbs
Bantamweight 61.2 kg 135 lbs
Featherweight 65.8 kg 145 lbs
Lightweight 70.3 kg 155 lbs
Welterweight 77.1 kg 170 lbs
Middleweight 83.9 kg 185 lbs
Light Heavyweight 93 kg 205 lbs
Heavyweight 120.2kg 265 lbs

Unified Rules Of MMA, 2018

A total of eight weight classes are the usual divisions available for male UFC fighters.

Sometimes fighters will also compete at a “ Catchweight.” This could be any weight between both fighters. The catchweight is used when one or both fighters have been unable to meet the standard weight division requirements on the day before a fight.

The UFC will check in with fighters periodically leading up to the fight, and if one fighter is unable to make weight, both fighters may be forced to enter a new contract agreement for the contest.

Without this new agreement at a Catchweight, both fighters could lose the opportunity to fight and make money. They’ll only get paid for making an appearance and not for nearly making an appearance. So it’s usually the best option.

The Catchweight can sometimes be used to arrange a fight night from the start, particularly when two fighters want to fight each other but usually weigh in very different divisions. For example, a Middleweight fighter challenges a Light Heavyweight fighter.

A real-life example of this was when the Middleweight fighter Rich Franklin agreed to a Catchweight at 88.45 kg / 195 lbs against the Light Heavyweight Wanderlei Silva for UFC 99.

In terms of viewership, research suggests that pay-per-view buyers are most interested in watching Heavyweight fights. This most likely is a remnant from Boxing fans who are used to paying the biggest bucks to get access to the biggest fights. And sometimes that means literally!

UFC Women’s Weight Classes In Order

MMA women fighting

This is the list of weight classes for the women’s UFC divisions, including their upper weight limit in kilograms and pounds:

Division UFC Weight Classes kg UFC Weight Classes lbs
Strawweight 52.2 kg 115 lbs
Flyweight 56.7 kg 125 lbs
Bantamweight 61.2 kg 135 lbs
Featherweight 65.8 kg 145 lbs

Unified Rules Of MMA, 2018

Currently, there are only four weight divisions for UFC women’s matchups. Three (Flyweight, Bantamweight, and Featherweight) match up with the men’s divisions. But Strawweight is almost exclusively additional for women’s matchups.

Women generally tend to be smaller in size, frame, and weight than men. So the divisions represent that, along with the availability of most female fighters.

All Possible MMA Weight Classes In Order

While the UFC uses nine different weight divisions for both male and female fighters, there are a possible fourteen weight classes that can be used in mixed martial arts.

The full list of MMA weight divisions, as defined by the Unified Rules Of Mixed Martial Arts, is as follows:

Division UFC Weight Classes kg UFC Weight Classes lbs
Strawweight 52.2 kg 115 lbs
Flyweight 56.7 kg 125 lbs
Bantamweight 61.2 kg 135 lbs
Featherweight 65.8 kg 145 lbs
Lightweight 70.3 kg 155 lbs
Super Lightweight 74.8 kg 165 lb
Welterweight 77.1 kg 170 lbs
Super Welterweight 79.4 kg 175 lb
Middleweight 83.9 kg 185 lbs
Super Middleweight 88.5 kg 195 lb
Light Heavyweight 93 kg 205 lbs
Cruiserweight 102.1 kg 225 lb
Heavyweight 120.2kg 265 lbs
Super Heavyweight No limit No limit

Unified Rules Of MMA, 2018

When these weight divisions were first created in the Unified Rules Of MMA in 2000, nine were in total.

As the sport of MMA has evolved, though, an additional four have been added. Strawweight was added in 2015. And the Super Lightweight, Super Welterweight, Super Middleweight, and Cruiserweight classes were added in 2017.

UFC History Of Weight Classes

The beginnings of The Ultimate Fighting Championship were intended to create a tournament where any fighter could fight any other, regardless of size or weight.

This was one of the early promotional messages that came with the UFC. It was THE ultimate fighting tournament to decide who was the better fighter.

This hadn’t been done before, and in the early 1990s, mixed martial arts was only just getting started in the United States.

No Weight Classes Before 1997

Up until 1997, the UFC officially had NO weight classes at all. Every UFC fight night was in the Openweight class. Openweight meant that any fighter could fight any other if they agreed. Their weight did not matter.

It’s clear then why the UFC struggled a lot in its early formative years (probably 10-15 years of struggle) to get the legal approvals necessary even to put on a show. They’d have to pick their states carefully and get the proper permissions from the state office and the athletic commission.

The Openweight class was also used in special events called the Superfight Championship. The title was formed to create an ultimate champion that anyone could challenge, regardless of weight.

The title wasn’t around for very long, but Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn were two winners between 1995 and 1996.

But the Superfight Champion title, along with the Openweight weight class, was removed in 1997 when the UFC finally introduced Heavyweight to replace the Superfight title and Lightweight.

Over time, other divisions were introduced, and actual weights were moved around as the sport continued to evolve and more fighters joined up.

Weight Classes Of Popular UFC Fighters

If you’re wondering what the weight class is for some of your favorite fighters, then let me help. Some of these fighters have had experience in different divisions, and I’ll note each one:

Kamaru Usman

Kamaru Usman
JoeKhanMMA, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Welterweight 2012-Present.

Became UFC Welterweight Champion in 2019 after beating Tyron Woodley. One Catchweight fight against Rashid Abdullah in 2013.

Amanda Nunes

Featherweight 2008-2011, Bantamweight 2011-Present.

Became UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion in 2016 after beating Miesha Tate. She also became UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion in 2018 after beating Cris Cyborg.

Dustin Poirier

Lightweight 2009-2010, 2015-Present. Featherweight 2011-2014.

He became the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion in 2019 after beating Max Holloway.

Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor
Andrius Petrucenia, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Featherweight 2008-2015, Lightweight 2008-2012, 2016-2018, 2021-Present, Welterweight 2016, 2020.

Won the interim UFC Featherweight Championship in 2015, then became the UFC Featherweight Champion in 2015 after beating Jose Aldo. Conor McGregor then became the double-champ by winning the UFC Lightweight Division Belt from Eddie Alvarez in 2016.

Common Questions

Now let me answer a handful of the most common questions about the UFC’s weight classes.

Are UFC Weight Classes The Same As Boxing?

The weight classes in the UFC are not the same as in Boxing. They share division names, but the actual weights are different. For example, the Middleweight division in the UFC has a maximum weight of 83.9 kg/185 lbs. In Boxing, the Middleweight division is 72.57 kg/ 60 lbs.

Which UFC Weight Class Has The Most Knockouts?

The Heavyweight weight class has the most knockouts in the UFC. But surprisingly, it is closely followed by the Welterweight division. It would seem that both these weights provide the optimum fighter power for knocking out an opponent at the same weight class.

Which UFC Weight Class Has The Most Fighters?

The Welterweight weight class has the most fighters in the UFC, with 91 active Welterweightmale fighters. Close behind is the Lightweight roster with 90 male fighters. The biggest women’s weight class is the Strawweight division, with 46 active female fighters.

What UFC Weight Class Is 170 Lbs?

A total of 170 lbs is the Welterweight UFC weight class.

What UFC Weight Class Is 165 Lbs?

A total of 165 lbs matches the Unified Rules Of MMA’s Super Lightweight weight class. But the UFC doesn’t have this weight class in their divisions. Instead, they would fall under the Welterweight division of 170 lbs maximum weight.

Did UFC Always Have Weight Classes?

The UFC did not always have weight classes. Between its first event in 1993 and 1997, UFC fights were held in an Openweight division. This meant no weight restrictions, and any fighter could fight any other.

Why Do We Have Separate Weight Classes In UFC?

The separate weight classes in the UFC are to make the competition as fair as possible. The weight of a fighter directly impacts things like agility, mobility, strength, and power. A heavier fighter has a much better chance of knocking out and seriously harming someone lighter than them.

How Often Do UFC Fighters Change Weight Classes?

UFC fighters rarely change weight classes unless there is a good reason. Sometimes it can be because they are on a losing streak in their current weight class, and they need to move down. Other times, someone like Conor McGregor or Israel Adesanya moves a weight class temporarily to challenge for a different championship belt.

Does Weight Matter More Than Skill When Fighting?

When two fighters go head to head without any weapons, both their skill and weight directly affect the outcome. A less heavy fighter could win when the skill is coupled with great agility. But they will always be at the risk of a severe injury from a strike of a heavier fighter because of weight.

Interestingly, though, a sports analyst at Berkeley found that since weight classes were introduced in the UFC in 1997, the heavier opponent only won 20% of the time:

“To answer this question, I gathered data from every UFC fight since 1997 (the year the UFC implemented weight classes) and calculated the win ratio of the ‘heavier’ opponent to be 20.4/100. So, only 20% of all fights are won by the ‘heavier’ opponent; already, this suggests a lack of correlation between weighing more and winning.”

But Weight, There’s More, Harry Li, 2019

That’s the end of this article about the UFC’s weight classes. Now you might want to read about exactly what happens if a UFC fighter misses weight or the UFC viewership statistics.

Top comments (12)

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lee profile image
Lee

Nice post @joe_mmahive - really informative and congrats in being the first to create an organisation here and figure out RSS imports 🎉 looking forward to seeing you Org grow here.

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joe_mmahive profile image
Joe (MMA Hive) Author

Thanks! I'm particular about sharing my content elsewhere, but this seems like a legitimately decent community being built by you, so I thought I'd try things out :)

Hope to be able to bring value to your community here and join in the conversations!

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lee profile image
Lee

It is mate! Don't forget to set the Canonical URL on your cross posts so that you retain SEO and ranking. Let me know if you need help with that 😎

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joe_mmahive profile image
Joe (MMA Hive) Author

Yep, it looks like the setting works perfectly with the feeds, so no issues there yet. If all goes well I'll be happy to keep contributing my content to the community as long as they find it valuable! I'm not here to spam :)

Appreciate this warm welcome, cheers!

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lee profile image
Lee

Np glad to hear it. Yep it’s why we built This MMA Life, for content creators that can showcase mainstream MMA in a healthy community and as your audience grows you can introduce your own bit of sponsorship etc. Plus you get to keep SEO rank 😃

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lee profile image
Lee

Love this…

MMA Hive

“Where martial artists come to pollinate their skills”

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hannahwoking1 profile image
hannahwoking

Nice to see the women's UFC weight classes in here - representing WMMA 😉

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joe_mmahive profile image
Joe (MMA Hive) Author

ah, of course, I try to make content like this to include both. It's much more interesting and the WMMA fighters have a strong-yet-growing representation in the UFC!

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hannahwoking1 profile image
hannahwoking

Great! Yes, some of the most recent fights have just been off the charts for WMMA. Also Katie Taylor from a boxing perspective.. it's never been better.

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gerryblake profile image
Gerry

This is really useful man, i’ve saved it for reference and to send on to some of my friends who are more ‘casual’ fans 😀

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joe_mmahive profile image
Joe (MMA Hive) Author

Awesome, Gerry, thanks!

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gerryblake profile image
Gerry

Not a problemo - thank you!