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UFC Weight Classes: Men & Women Divisions In The MMA Club

Men & Women of UFC

Last Updated on September 28, 2022

Do you know how many weight divisions there are in the UFC? Mixed martial arts has nine categories, from the super heavyweight division, which has no upper weight limit, to the strawweight division, which groups fighters under 115 pounds.

The UFC has nine weight categories comprising eight weight groups for men and four weight divisions for women. We'll explain how eight plus four makes nine and not 11 as we list all divisions below.

UFC Weight Classes In Order

Did you know that the UFC didn't have MMA weight classes when it started in 1993? Fighters got weight classes four years later, and they only had a choice between heavyweight bouts (over 200 pounds) and lightweight events.

Here’s a list of the current weight divisions:

Men's Heavyweight Class: 205 - 265 Pounds ( 93 - 120 Kg)

Randy Couture
Randy Couture
Francis Ngannou
Francis Ngannou

The first heavyweight bout was at UFC 12 in 1997, and it was a set of semifinal fights and one final event. It was a thrilling night because the famous Vitor Belfort made his debut in the heavyweight class by fighting Tra Telligman in the semifinal and winning against Scott Ferrozzo. 

The championship fight was between Mark Coleman and Dan Severn, which Coleman won via a scarf-hold headlock submission. He was the first UFC champion in this weight division.

Other famous fighters in this weight class are Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Frank Mir, Junior dos Santos, and Francis Ngannou.

Light Heavyweight Division: 185 - 205 Pounds (84 - 93 Kg)

This was the middleweight category before UFC 31!

Quinton Jackson was the first light heavyweight champion after the Pride World Middleweight Championship merged with UFC's light heavyweight class in 2007. Before him, however, were other UFC champions like Frank Shamrock, Jan Blachowicz, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, and Jon Jones. 

Middleweight Division: 170 - 185 Pounds (78 - 84 Kg)

Anderson Silva was the first champion when the UFC merged with Pride World in 2008. He held the title for 2,457 days and defended it ten times. But, there were other bouts before this one, as the first middleweight event was at UFC 33 in 2001. Among the champions at the time were Rich Franklin and Murilo Bustamante. 

Other middleweight champions since 2008 are Robert Whittaker, Michael Bisping, and the incumbent, Israel Adesanya.

Men's Welterweight Class: 155 - 170 Pounds (71 - 77 Kg)

It's where Georges St Pierre dominated, winning 12 times and losing twice. Other notable welterweight fighters are Colby Covington, who lost the title two months after winning it due to injury, Tyron Woodley, Khamzat Chimaev, and BJ Penn. 

Kamaru Usman's reign as the welterweight champion is over 1,000 days old, with five defense bouts by 2021.

This wrestler weighs 170 pounds, and his defense fights have pitted him against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal several times.

UFC Lightweight Class: 145 - 155 Pounds (66 - 70 Kg)

Charles Oliveira
Charles Oliveira
Khabib Nurmagomedov
Khabib Nurmagomedov

It's another star-studded mixed martial arts class as it has the likes of Dustin Poirier, Max Holloway, Kevin Lee, and the reigning champion Charles Oliveira. Also, we can't forget Khabib Nurmagomedov, who reigned for 1,077 days and defended the title thrice.

Several fighters have lost the lightweight championship title for various reasons. For instance, McGregor lost it due to inactivity, and Sean Sherk tested positive for anabolic steroids.

Men's Featherweight Division: 135 - 145 Pounds (61 - 66 Kg)

Jose Aldo got the inaugural title because he was the WEC champion before this organization merged with the UFC. But, that didn't grant him immunity against opponents, and he had to defend the title seven times.

It's no wonder he's on the list of martial arts fighters with the most title defenses alongside Jon Jones, Anderson Silva, and Stipe Miocic. 

McGregor and Aldo ruled the featherweight championship from 2010 to 2016, and the reigning champion is Alexander Volkanovski.

Bantamweight Division: 125 - 135 Pounds (57 - 61 Kg)

Fighters you might know in this weight division are Henry Cejudo, Petr Yan, T.J. Dillashaw, and Dominick Cruz. Dillashaw has held the championship title several times, amounting to 1,104 days, but not as many as Dominick's 1,465 days as a bantamweight champion.

Men's UFC Flyweight Division: 116 - 125 Pounds (53 - 57 Kg)

It's one of the weight classes UFC is famous for because of fighters like Demetrious Johnson, Henry Cejudo, and Joseph Benavidez. They make any UFC fight night unforgettable. Johnson ranks first in title defenses in this division as he's held the championship title for 2,142 days and defended it 11 times.

While at the UFC, his opponents included John Dodson, Ray Borg, and John Moraga.

Knock-Out Point: One interesting subject to talk about is weight management. Do you know how each of these players meets the proper weigh-in requirements? Read our post -- How Do UFC Fighters Cut Weight.


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UFC Weight Divisions For Women

There are also UFC bouts for women in four categories. They are listed as follows:

Women's Featherweight: 135 - 145 Pounds (62 - 66 Kg)

The UFC introduced most women's divisions recently, this one's inaugural event being in February 2017.

Germaine de Randamie fought Holly Holm in the inaugural bout but lost the championship when she refused to defend it against Cris Cyborg about four months later. That's how Cyborg got a shot at the featherweight championship, defeated Tonya Evinger, and defended it twice.

There have only been three championship title holders in this division, and the third fighter, who is also the incumbent, is Amanda Nunes.

Women's Bantamweight: 125 - 135 Pounds (57 - 61 Kg)

Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey
Holly Holm
Holly Holm

Unlike other championship titles where opponents have to battle it out, Ronda Rousey got the inaugural title without a title bout. It was a well-deserved promotion since she was the Strikeforce bantamweight champion when the UFC absorbed this organization. She reigned for 1,074 days and defended it six times, from 2012 to 2015.

When she met Holly Holm at UFC 193, head kicks and punches gave her a knockout and cost her the championship. Nevertheless, she's on the list of women who've had most title defenses with six wins and two losses.

Other bantamweight champions are Miesha Tate, Amanda Nunes, and the incumbent, Julianna Pena.

Women's Flyweight: 115 - 125 Pounds (53-57 Kg)

Nicco Montano
Nicco Montano
Valentina Shevchenko
Valentina Shevchenko

The championship's debut fight in 2017 was between Nicco Montano and Roxanne Modafferi. Though Montano won, Dana White surrendered her title the following year due to medical issues arising from her attempts to cut weight. 

It gave Valentina Shevchenko a shot at the title, and she's the reigning champion since she fought Joanna Jędrzejczyk in 2018. That's over 1,000 days as the women's flyweight champion.

Strawweight: Upper Weight Limit Of 115 Pounds (52 Kg)

The women's strawweight division's first bout was in 2014, and Carla Esparza won against Rose Namajunas via a rear-naked choke. This Las Vegas performance earned her 92 days as the reigning strawweight champion until Joanna Jędrzejczyk won via a technical knockout. Jędrzejczyk has a record of one of the most title defenses among women fighters, having defended it six times.

She lost the title to Rose Namajunas, the reigning champion (as of 2021). 

Knock-Out Point: Learn about becoming one of the future MMA combatants by reading our post here -- How To Become A UFC Fighter.


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Frequently Asked Questions

In what weight class is Conor McGregor?

Conor McGregor weighs about 155 pounds (over 71 kg). He's now in the lightweight division. He played in the featherweight category in 2008, moved to the welterweight class in 2016 and 2020, then switched back to the lightweight division. 

Additionally, McGregor was UFC's first MMA fighter to hold titles in multiple divisions as he was the featherweight champion from December 2015 to November 2016 and the lightweight champion from November 2016.

How much do UFC light heavyweights weigh?

UFC fighters in this weight division weigh between 185 and 205 pounds (84 to 93 kg). The Mixed Martial Arts Unified Rules proposes 185 to 204.9 pounds.

Who has held two belts in the UFC?

Of course, the first person is Conor, whom we mentioned above. 

Others with this honor are Henry Cejudo in the bantamweight and flyweight classes, Amanda Nunes in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions, and Daniel Cormier in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. These MMA fighters have held two belts simultaneously. 

We should also mention Georges St Pierre here because he's had two title belts. However, his wins weren't simultaneous.


Conclusion

MMA weight classes create an almost equal playing ground for opponents. That's why failing pre-fight weigh-ins can cost a UFC fighter a title and a percentage of their fight purse.

There are nine weight classes for UFC fighters, eight in the men's category, and four for women. Men don't have a strawweight division. Therefore, the men’s eight divisions plus the women’s strawweight category gives you nine divisions. That’s how eight plus four gives you nine weight classes instead of 12 divisions.

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