The Ultimate Fight Championship – UFC is currently the world’s top mixed martial arts competition. It had very humble beginnings way back in 1993, but has since grown into a fully fledged sport with millions of followers across the globe.
Currently, it is the fastest-growing sport in the world and a major attraction for sports enthusiasts whose primary interest lies in mixed martial arts.
Just like other sports with various divisions for participants, UFC also has its weight classes. However, the classes never existed throughout its early history.
The classes were a development after the sport started, and they were put in place to refine the sport and make it more engaging and accommodating to various types of players.
It will interest you to learn that up until late 1990, any fighter could fight with any other fighter in UFC. This led to anarchy and total chaos in the ring.
Fighters that didn’t pair correctly could meet, and though there could be a victor for one fighter, the one on the losing end usually ended up with lots of pain and suffering.
In 1994, during the fight between 200lb Keith Hackney and 600lb Sumo Wrestler Emmanuel Yarborough, the results of this fight made it necessary to have clear weight classes as a way of mitigating some of the damages done to Yarborough.
During this fight, Hackney landed over 500 punches on Yarborough’s head, leading to a TKO in less than two minutes. This was one of the weirdest episodes of the sport, but it made a compelling case for those concerned in this industry to take a closer look at the need and importance of weight divisions in UFC.
It is not always true that a huge size advantage would determine the overall winner of a fight, but weight classes debuted in UFC in 1997.
This was when the fighters at UFC 12 in Dothan, Alabama, were classified into two major weight divisions – heavyweight and lightweight.
A year later, the modern weight classification took up shape by introducing a third weight class.
Presently, UFC fighters have nine weight divisions that they can compete in as outlined in the Unified Rules. Read below to find out more about the breakdown of the UFC weight classes.
Men’s UFC Weight Divisions
Currently, there are eight UFC weight classes in the men’s division. They are as outlined in the table below:
|Weight Division||Minimum Weight (lb/kg)||Maximum Weight(lb/kg)|
Women’s UFC Weight Divisions
Women currently have only four weight divisions in the UFC. This smaller number of divisions compared to their male counterparts could be due to a smaller disparity in the weights, leading to a reduced scale of competition among the female athletes.
Also, the women’s division was created in 2012 and is still developing. The current women weight classes are as outlined in the table below:
|Weight Division||Minimum Weight (lb/kg)||Maximum Weight(lb/kg)|
Divisions and The Current Champions
The Strawweight is a women’s-only weight division in the UFC. Its first debut was during the all-female 20th season of the UFC in 2013. Carla Esparza emerged as the victor during the inaugural crowning of this division. The title is currently held by Zhang Weili who defeated Jessica Andrade at UFC Fight Night 157.
This is the lightest division in the men’s category. Demetrious Johnson was the winner of the inaugural title. The current undisputed UFC Lightweight Champion, however, is Khabib Nurmagomedov, while Valentina Shevchenko holds the lady’s title for this division.
Dominick Cruz previously held the Bantamweight title. He has held the title two separate times and successfully defended it on three different occasions. Cruz lost the title to the current champion – Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207.
For the ladies, this division was once dominated by Ronda Rousey, who had the title for three years before being dethroned by Holly Holm. Amanda Nunes is the current custodian of the belt after she gave Rousey her second defeat in her career.
This is the division that was dominated by Conor McGregor. He held this title until he won the Lightweight championship at UFC 205 to become the very first UFC fighter in history to be the champion in two separate divisions at the same time. Before Conor came into the scenes, Jose Aldo mainly dominated this division.
The women’s featherweight division was added in 2017. The inaugural champion was Germaine de Randamie, while the current champion is Amanda Nunes.
For you to compete in this category, you must have a maximum weight of 155lbs. The current champion in this division is Khabib Nurmagomedov. He announced his retirement during UFC 254 after flooring the then interim champion Justin Gaethje. Till now, he is yet to vacate the title.
At welterweight, the maximum weight requirement is 170lbs. The current champion in this division is Kamaru Usman, who has had the title since March 2019.
To qualify for this division, your maximum weight must not exceed 185lbs. This title is currently proudly held by Israel Adesanya. This was after he comfortably knocked down Robert Whittaker to become the undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion.
Light Heavyweight Division:
For you to become a fighter in this category, you must weigh between 186lbs and 205lbs. It is at this division when you begin to share the ring with the big boys.
This is the division reserved for names such as Tito Ortiz, Jon Jones, and Chuck Liddell. The current holder of this title is Jan Blachowicz, who has held the title since September 2020.
The heavyweight division is the most high-profile of all the weight divisions in UFC. This is the division where you will find the biggest fighters in UFC.
The inaugural champion for this division was Mark Coleman. There is no fighter in UFC history who has defended this title more than twice.
And only five fighters have defended it more than once. The current champion is Francis Ngannou, who defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March 2021.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Why were Weight Classes Introduced in UFC?
Before introducing weight classes, any fighter could organize a match with any other fighter. There was a complete lack of harmony and coherence in the ring with this arrangement, since the fighters never matched up correctly. The weight classes were introduced to reduce the anarchy and the chaos that was sometimes witnessed in the ring.
How many Weight Divisions are there in UFC?
The UFC has nine different weight divisions. These include eight men’s divisions and four women’s divisions.
Who is the UFC Fighter who has fought in the most Weight Classes?
The UFC fighter who has fought in the most weight classes is Kenny Florian. He started his career in the welterweight division and has competed in four different weight categories.
Which Weight Class is Conor McGregor?
Conor McGregor has competed in two weight divisions–lightweight and featherweight division.
Is there a Super-Weight Category in UFC?
Fighters weighing more than 265lbs would fall into this category. Under the MMA Unified Rules, they are a legitimate party. Currently, they don’t receive any recognition from the UFC. Hence, they barely exist and they will never compete in a UFC ring.
How Rich is Dana White?
The net worth of Dana White is estimated to be somewhere around $500 million. He is entitled to about 9% of MMA profits. From this stream of income, he has an estimated annual income of about $20 million.
How many Fights has Amanda Nunes Lost?
Amanda Nunes is regarded as the greatest female fighter of all time. She holds UFC 135 and 145-pound titles. Since September 2014, she has not lost a single fight.