The Complete Guide to UFC Weight Classes

UFC has an average viewership of one million viewers during broadcasts. It’s been one of the U.S.’s most popular sports for a long time, and its popularity just keeps rising. 

A popular sport means a good opportunity for betting, but in order to make smart betting choices, you need to know the sport front to back! That’s why we’re here. 

The first thing you’ll need to know about UFC is the UFC weight classes. They can guide you to help you pick likely winners and understand the fighting tactics they’ll likely use. Keep reading to get your UFC weight class education.

History of UFC

Before we answer the question, “What are the weight classes in UFC?” Let’s make sure that you’re up to date on your UFC knowledge. If you’re just getting into the sport you may be missing some information or have some misconceptions.

UFC was first founded in 1993. Since its inception, it’s gathered a massive amount of viewers and brings in millions of dollars every year through pay-per-view services.

UFC has its roots in a couple of places. The earliest influence on UFC is Pankration in 648 BC. This was a form of wrestling used in the early Greek Olympics that, like UFC, used a wide range of fighting tactics and skills.

 

UFC is also influenced by other forms of MMA (or mixed martial arts) such as a Brazilian form from about 80 years ago. The mixed martial arts aspect is important to UFC as fighters are expected to be knowledgeable in a variety of fighting styles such as karate, boxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, sumo, grappling, and kickboxing.

What a fighter chooses to employ largely depends on their preference. You’ll soon see that some fighting styles are more useful in some weight classes than others. It depends on what a fighter’s body is naturally better at.

Origins of the UFC Weight Classes

It didn’t take long for the UFC to start employing weight classes to ensure fairness and overall safety for competing athletes. Not only is it unsafe for fighters of different weight classes to compete against each other, the different styles of fighting they’ll employ often don’t work well together for entertainment purposes.

At first, UFC had very few rules, but since then illegal moves have been added to the list and weight classes have been further and further broken down.

UFC Women's Weight Classes

The lighter weight classes UFC offers are composed of both men and women, but the women obviously tend to stop at a certain point. As the weight classes increase in body weight, more men are typically seen in the fights. Each UFC weight class is about a ten-pound range for participants.

Before each match, contestants are weighed to make sure that they are fighting only suitable opponents.

This weight class debuted in 2013 and had a female winner for its first season, Carla Esparza.

Strawweight

Strawweight is the lowest of the UFC division weights. This weight class ranges from 106 lbs to 115lbs. While this weight class is usually occupied by women fighters, it is open and available to men as well if they fit within the weight category. 

Flyweight

Flyweight was introduced in 2017 to give women fighters the opportunity to fight. The weight range in this class is 115 lbs to 125 lbs. 

Because this is such a lightweight class, many of these fighters prioritize speed and jiu-jitsu in their fighting style.

Bantamweight

Bantamweight also includes both men and women before the heavier weight classes. This weight class ranges from 125 lbs to 135 lbs. 

Featherweight

Featherweight is the final weight class that pertains to both male and female fighters. While it is open to both, because it is heading into the heavier weights, it is often dominated by men. Some standouts from this division are Brian Ortega, Max Holloway, Conor McGregor, and Alexander Volkanovski.

Men's UFC Weight Classes

As we move into heavier UFC division weights, these classes become just for men.

Flyweight

What a division. With fighters like Moreno, Figs, KKF and some others. These guys come to bring it and even though you are not going to see clubbing KOS, the pace these guys keep, will make any fight exciting with consistent flow and movement.

It isn’t everyday that you see 125 pound men walking around, but these guys throw some of the most exciting fights when they lace up.

Bantam Weight

Probably one of the most stacked divisions. Blazing Speed and conditioning are of regularity here at 135lbs what do you really expect? A very fun division to watch and the endless batteries on these fighters are extremely fun to watch.

Featherweight

Still holding speed and adding more power, at 145 these fighters carry it all with them at a more damaging level. Speed equates to power and when you have a little more weight behind you, it equates to more. Surely one of our favorite divisions with a great balance of all traits.

Lightweight

Lightweight is one of the most popular weight divisions because it offers a combination of strength and speed. But since they’re lighter, there still is a greater focus on speed which makes it highly engaging to watch. UFC gets most of its viewership for this weight class. Fighters in the lightweight class are between 145 lbs to 155 lbs.

Welterweight

Welterweight is truly the most balanced of the weight classes. These athletes are neither too heavy to perform quick, exciting moves nor too small to deliver hard blows.

This is also one of the widest ranges of weight classes in the UFC with a fifteen-pound range from 155 lbs to 167 lbs. This means that you see a great variety in styles of fighters within one weight class.

Middleweight

Middleweight is one of the older categories and was introduced in 2001. Some of the historically best fighters in the UFC have been in this weight class. Middleweight also has a fifteen-pound range from 170 lbs to 185 lbs.

Light Heavyweight

Don’t let the name confuse you, light heavyweight is one of the heaviest weight classes in UFC. This weight class was previously known as middleweight until the weight classes were further broken down in 2001.

You can also find very diverse fighters in this class because it has a twenty-pound range! Fighters can be between 185 lbs and 205 lbs.

Heavyweight

The final weight category is for fighters over 205 lbs. There is a subset category within Heavyweight that is used for some fights called Towelweight. The Towelweight class is a one-pound range of between 205 lbs and 206 lbs.

Heavyweight has the largest weight range because it’s the final weight class. Fighters can be between 205 lbs and 265 lbs. Because they’re so heavy, these fighters mostly rely on heavy striking for attacks.

The Weight Classes Simplified

With this guide, you should feel more familiar with the UFC weight classes. Keep an eye on the balanced weights for some of the most thrilling events, but don’t forget to keep yourself knowledgeable about the lower and higher classes too.

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