UFC Weight Classes: A Guide to MMA Divisions

The UFC has weight classes for a reason. It would be chaos if fighters of all different sizes were competing against each other. Even though some of us would like to bring back the original UFC-style championships to life. That is why the UFC has specific weight classes so that fighters can compete against opponents of a similar size.

The UFC weight classes were created in 1997 at UFC 12 where the lightweight and heavyweight divisions were introduced. It wasn’t until UFC 31 that the more commonly-known weight classes were introduced as outlined below. Read on to get all the information you need about UFC weight divisions.

Men’s UFC Weight Classes

The UFC currently has eight different weight classes for men. The classes and their upper weight limits are as follows:

Flyweight 125 lbs56.7 kg
Bantamweight135 lbs61.2 kg
Featherweight145 lbs65.8 kg
Lightweight155 lbs70.3 kg
Welterweight170 lbs77.1 kg
Middleweight185 lbs83.9 kg
Light heavyweight205 lbs102.1 kg
Heavyweight265lbs120.2 kg

Women’s UFC Weight Classes

The UFC has 4 weight classes for women. They are as follows:

Strawweight115 lbs52.5 kg
Flyweight125 lbs56.7 kg
Bantamweight135 lbs61.2 kg
Featherweight145 lbs65.8 kg

A Breakdown of the UFC Weight Divisions

Below, we will talk more about the different weight classes in the UFC and who some of the top fighters are in each one

Best Fighters in the UFC Flyweight Division

The Flyweight class is definitely fun to watch since it is, in my opinion, one of the technically most sound divisions in the whole UFC, meaning its fighters can’t solely rely on their power for a knockout punch like in the heavier divisions; therefore, their technique is almost impeccable. Fighters like Deiveson Figueiredo, Brandon Moreno, and Kai Kara France are the top 3 fighters in the division, and their devotion and their skill are maybe the highest in the UFC. One of the GOATs of MMA and the UFC was also a king within the division, the one and only Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.

Best Fighters in the UFC Bantamweight Division

Bantamweight is another division packed with killers with impeccable techniques. Fighters such as Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen, the legend Jose Aldo, and many others always make fireworks of any fight they are in. The Bantamweight division really is a shark pool. The current Bantamweight champion is Aljamain Sterling, who is quite controversial within the UFC. Other notable fighters in the division are TJ Dillashaw, Marlon Vera, Frankie Edgar, Dominic Cruz, Rob Font, and Sean O’Malley.

Best Fighters in the UFC Featherweight Division

Next up is the Featherweight division with my favorite active fighter of them all, the champion himself, Alexander Volkanovski. Other prominent fighters within the division are Max Holloway, Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, and Calvin Kattar.

Best Fighters in the UFC Lightweight Division

Some of the most popular mixed martial arts fighters in the UFC today compete in the Lightweight class. This division is home to the “Notorious” Conor McGregor, who was once the UFC featherweight champion. The Lightweight division is currently without a champion since Charles Oliveira had missed weight before his last fight, where he won over Justin Gaethje. Other top lightweight fighters include Tony Ferguson, Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, Islam Makhachev, and many more. We cannot forget to mention the GOAT himself, Khabib Nurmagomedov, who “drowned” all of his opponents during his 29-0 reign.

Best Fighters in the UFC Welterweight Division

The Welterweight division is another one that is always exciting to watch. This weight class has produced some of the most memorable UFC fights in history. Some of the past top welterweights included the names such as Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, and Tyron Woodley. Currently, the reigning champion is also the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC and maybe the world, the Nigerian Nightmare, Kamaru Usman. Other notable fighters within the welterweight division are Colby Covington, Leon Edwards, Khamzat Chimaev, Gilbert Burns, Belal Muhammad, Vicente Luque, Stephen Thompson, and Jorge Masvidal.

Best Fighters in the UFC Middleweight Division

The Middleweight division is currently ruled by one man, and that man is Israel Adesanya. Adesanya has defended his title multiple times against some of the best fighters in the world. Other top middleweights include Robert Whittaker, Jared Cannonier, and Marvin Vettori.

Best Fighters in the UFC Light Heavyweight Division

The Light heavyweight division was being dominated by one fighter, and that fighter was Jon Jones. Jones has been considered to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world for many years. Recently he has been trying to transition into the heavyweight class… we will see how that goes. The light heavyweight division was once full of very talented fighters such as Daniel Cormier and Alexander Gustafsson. The current Light Heavyweight champion is Glover Teixeira. Other top light heavyweight fighters include Jan Błachowicz, Jiri Prochazka, Aleksandar Rakić, Magomed Ankalaev, Anthony Smith, and Thiago Santos.

Best Fighters in the UFC Heavyweight Division

The Heavyweight division is always one of the most popular in the UFC. This is because the fights are usually very exciting, and they often end with someone getting knocked out. The current heavyweight champion is Francis Ngannou, who is getting scarier and scarier every fight. Other top heavyweights include Stipe Miocic, Ciryl Gane, Tai Tuivasa, Curtis Blaydes, Derrick Lewis, and hopefully Jon Jones soon.

Best Fighters in the UFC Women’s Divisions

The Women’s MMA divisions were held down by two women mostly, two absolute killers in their own right, the “complete human being” Valentina Shevchenko and Amanda Nunes. Valentina is still holding her belt within the Women’s Flyweight division, while Julianna Pena had defeated Amanda Nunes and won the Women’s Bantamweight division belt.

Notable female fighters within the Women’s Strawweight division are Carla Esparza (the current champion), Rose Namajunas, and Zhang Weili.

Why Did The UFC Establish Weight Classes?

There are a number of reasons why the UFC decided to implement weight classes. First and foremost, the promotion wanted to improve the safety of its athletes. Larger fighters have a significant size advantage over their smaller opponents, which can lead to serious injuries in a fight. By creating weight classes, the UFC hoped to minimize this risk by pitting fighters of similar size against one another.

In addition to safety concerns, the UFC also wanted to create more competitive and exciting fights. Larger fighters often have an easy time winning against their smaller opponents simply because of their size advantage. This can make for one-sided and uninteresting fights. By creating weight classes, the UFC hoped to even the playing field and make for more competitive bouts.

Weight classes help to keep fighters healthy, as they are not competing outside of their natural weight range, at least should be one of the many reasons, but we all know weight cutting is still a staple of fight prep within the UFC.

Finally, weight classes provide structure for tournaments and championship title fights.

Weight Cutting In MMA

Weight cutting is a dangerous and potentially deadly practice in mixed martial arts (MMA). It is the process of rapidly losing large amounts of weight in a short period of time, usually in order to make weight for a competition.

Weight cutting can lead to severe dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and kidney damage. It can also cause fighters to faint and, in some cases, even die.

The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has taken steps to try and prevent weight-cutting-related deaths by instituting new rules and regulations, but the problem still persists.

Promotions like ONE Championship have started doing hydration tests on their fighters to try and prevent weight-cutting-related illnesses and deaths.

What Is the Weigh-In Policy in UFC?

It is mandatory that neither fighter weighs more than the upper limit of their respective division at the weigh-ins. All fighters must weigh in within a two-hour window on the day of the event.