In the beginning days of the UFC in 1993, you could see vintage clips where fighters of all sizes competed against each other.
A few years later, the championship introduced 12 UFC Weight Classes and certain criteria for the classification of all martial artists. These weight categories contribute towards a far more level playing field inside the octagon.
In this post, we are going to look at each weight class from Strawweight to Heavyweight.
Strawweight (106 – 115lbs)
Firstly, the lightest of the UFC weight classes, the strawweight division in the UFC only includes women fighters who weigh from 106lbs up to 115lbs (52.2kg). This makes strawweight division the category consisting of the lightest players.
China’s Zhang Weili is the current UFC strawweight champion. She won the title against Jessica Andrade on August 31, 2019.
The 31-year-old won the fight via first-round technical knockout that earned Weili her first Performance of the Night bonus award. Her 21-1 professional MMA record speaks volumes of her greatness. She’s undefeated in the UFC (5-0).
Flyweight (115 – 125lbs)
The second on the list of UFC weight classes, the UFC’s flyweight division is yet another star-studded category that includes both men and women fighters who weigh between 115lbs to 125lbs (56.7kg). This division was introduced in December 2017 for the women wing.
Pundits believe that the new weight division will help women fighters drastically. It will create more opportunities for female martial artists to compete at the highest level without losing a lot of weight to drop down to the strawweight division. Fighters of this category tend to display the best and fastest Jiu-Jitsu.
Valentina Shevchenko holds the flyweight championship belt at present, but it was Nicco Montano who held it for the first time. She defeated Roxanne Modafferi on The Ultimate Fighter to get herself a six-figure UFC contract.
As for men, Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo is the current title holder. He won the belt after submitting Joseph Benavidez in July 2020. The 33-year-old has since defended it on two occasions.
Bantamweight (125 – 135lbs)
The next of the UFC weight classes contain both male and female martial artists who weigh between 125lbs to 135lbs (61.2kg) are classified in the Bantamweight weight class.
Amanda Nunes is the name that pops up to head when we speak of one of the best women’s bantamweight fighters. She has been the division’s champion for around five years. Nunes made the headlines by defeating reigning bantamweight champ Miesha Tate at UFC 200 in July 2016. She beat Tate via submission and has since successfully defended the belt five times.
On the other hand, Petr Yan holds the title in the male category. He was declared the champion after knocking out Jose Also at UFC 251.
However, the fighter has been criticised by his fellow fighters and contenders for calling himself the best fighter in the division despite not defending the title even once. But this doesn’t deny Yan’s ability to overwhelm his opponents inside the octagon, making him a great UFC asset.
Featherweight (135 – 145lbs)
The featherweight division comprises women and men weighing from 135lbs up to 145lbs (65.8kg). This category consists of exciting fighters like Max Holloway and Brian Ortega. However, the name that stands head and shoulders above is its champion Alexander Volkanovski.
He has been on a roll since landing the UFC contract and has become a lethal force. He won the belt after overwhelming Holloway at UFC 245 in December 2019. Volkanovski has one title defence to his name.
Volkanovski’s female counterpart is Amanda Nunes. After winning against Miesha Tate in 2016, Nunes went on to take on Cris Cyborg in 2018. She was crowned a double champion after she defeated Cyborg with a first-round TKO at UFC 232.
Lightweight (145 – 155lbs)
Martial artists who weigh between 145lbs to 155lbs (70.3kg) are classified in the lightweight class in the UFC. In recent years, fighters of the lightweight division have earned the UFC the most money via pay-per-view.
As for the current UFC lightweight champion, Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov has held the belt for more than two years, but things regarding a future champion seem uncertain as the undefeated martial artist recently retired from the sport. UFC president Dana White insists that the Eagle is likely to return after UFC 257 in January 2021, but the fighter earlier said otherwise.
Nurmagomedov won the belt back in Apr 2018 with a win over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. He then defended it against three great fighters – Conor McGregor, Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirier.
Welterweight (155 – 170lbs)
The welterweight division is considered as the most balanced division as fighters are neither too light nor too heavy. This lets fans witness pinnacle martial arts skills. The welterweight division includes fighters that weight from 155lbs to 170lbs (77.1kg).
Kamaru Usman was crowned the welterweight champ on March 2, 2019. He wore the belt after registering a thumping win over Tyron Woodley at UFC 235.
The Nigerian Nightmare then defended the title against Colby Covington and Jorge Masvidal. He’s set to take on Gilbert Burns in the UFC 258 pay-per-view main event on February 13, 2021.
Middleweight (170 – 185lbs)
UFC fighters weighing from 170lbs to 185lbs (84kg) fall under the middleweight division. Current middleweight champ Israel Adesanya has set a new bar with prolific displays each time he stepped inside a UFC octagon. The Last Stylebender is breaking the stereotypes regarding middleweights not being agile enough by moving like a lightweight in his fights.
Yoel Romero is the latest middleweight to be axed by the championship, but when part of the UFC, he was a top performer and crowd-puller. His back-to-back losses were the probable reason for his exit. Another big name in the division is Brazil’s rising superstar Paulo Costa.
Both martial arts were, however, outperformed when they met Adesanya. He has been defying the critics since his arrival in the UFC and has successfully defended his title twice after becoming the champ in October 2019.
Light Heavyweight (185 – 205lbs)
The light heavyweight division contains second most heavy stars in the UFC. It features fighters weighing from 185lbs to 205 pounds (93). Jan Blachowicz, 37, is the current titleholder for this division after undefeated fighter Jones vacated the title.
The Polish fighter became the champ after winning against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253. Reyes, who doesn’t look the same fighter since his controversial loss to Jon Jones, was knocked out in only the second round.
Heavyweight (205 – 265lbs)
Heavyweight division of the UFC is the most ferocious weight class, to say the least. It contains fighting juggernauts who have the ability to put people to sleep with just a punch. This class includes fighters weighing from 205lbs to 265lbs (120.2).
Stipe Miocic is the UFC heavyweight champion, but he has one major threat to his title and that is Jon Jones.
Jones has been hitting the gym for the last few months in a bid to compete in the heavyweight division. As a light heavyweight champion, he has the most title defences in UFC history (11). In 2011, Jones became the youngest fighter to win the gold at 23. He defeated reigning champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua with a TKO.
Jones also holds the most consecutive light heavyweight title bouts in the champion’s history (14). He cited “no challenge” in the light heavyweight division as his reason to move up a weight class.