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The 9 UFC Weight Classes - Wrestle MMA

ufc weight classes
Via ~ Pixabay

The Ultimate Fighting Championship or The UFC has emerged as the biggest MMA promotional company over the years of its existence. It was able to prevail its competitors in terms of buyrates and viewership. The 26 years old organisation was recently valued at 7 billion dollars after ESPN bought its broadcasting rights.

There were no such hard and strict rules in the early years of UFC as fighters were allowed to battle irrespective of their size. In fact, the promotion used " There are no rules" as its tagline during its inception. The weight classes didn't exist in the company until 1997. The Heavyweight and Lightweight classes were the very first weight classes, that were brought in UFC 12.

Okay now let's have some quick questions, shall we?

What are the different UFC Weight Classes?

There are currently 9 UFC Weight Classes in total and they are -
  • Strawweight (115 lb and below)
  • Flyweight (116lb to 125 lb)
  • Bantamweight (126 lb to 135 lb)
  • Featherweight (136 lb to 145 lb)
  • Lightweight (146 lb to 155 lb)
  • Welterweight (156 lb to 170 lb)
  • Middleweight (171 lb to 185 lb)
  • Light Heavyweight (186 lb to 205 lb)
  • Heavyweight (206 lb to 265 lb)

How many Women's weight classes are there in UFC?

There are four UFC Women's Weight Classes and there are -
  • Strawweight (115 lb and below)
  • Women's Flyweight (116lb to 125 lb)
  • Women's Bantamweight (126 lb to 135 lb)
  • Women's Featherweight (136 lb to 145 lb)
Alright, now without further ado, let's go deep into these weight classes!

1. STRAWWEIGHT (115 lbs and below)




The Strawweight is exclusively for the female fighters of UFC. This class considers 115 lbs (52.2 kg) as the maximum limit for the female fighters to be eligible for competing in this division. There is significant growth in the division after it has been defined by the Unified Rules of Mix Martial Arts.

Some of the popular names of this UFC's division are Jessica Andrade, Rosa Namajunas, Tatiana Suarez, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, etc. And of course! Carla Ezparza, the first-ever strawweight champion in the history of UFC. She won the title in The Ultimate Fighter held in 2014 after defeating Rosa Namajunas via submission.

2. FLYWEIGHT (116 lbs to 125 lbs)


The Flyweight has an upper limit of 125 lbs (57 kg) and 116 lbs (53 kg) as its lowest. It is now a unisex division, as both men and women compete in it. The UFC officially announced about this division in 2011. The two crucial names that were the inaugural UFC Flyweight Champion in their respective sub-divisions are Nicco Montano (women's division) and Demetrious Johnson (men's division).

Nicco Montano won the title after overpowering Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision at TUF 26 (2017). On the other hand, Johnson earned his championship belt after winning a four men tournament back in 2012. He carried the title on his shoulder for about 5 long years!

3.BANTAMWEIGHT (126 lbs to 135 lbs)


           

The UFC has set the limits for this next weight class as 57 kg and 61.2. But, this wasn't the same before UFC 31 (2001) as the fighters weighing 68 kg (150 lbs) were referred to as 'bantamweights'. However, they were later categorized under 'lightweight' after the limit of the bantamweight was fixed at 61.2 kg at max. This is the second unisex division in the UFC.

Among the men's sub-division, Dominick Cruz won the inaugural UFC men's bantamweight championship after prevailing Jorgensen in December 2010. He originally used to fight in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) but was promoted to the UFC after both promotions decided to merge. Cruz was also the final WEC Bantamweight Champion.

In the women's bantamweight, the UFC Hall of Famer, Ronda Rousey was the face of the division for years. She was the first UFC women's bantamweight champion and held it for over 5 years.

4. FEATHERWEIGHT (136 lbs to 145 lbs)


           

The third and final unisex class is the featherweight division. It is one of the UFC weight classes that have some of top MMA fighters in the world. Starting off with the inaugural men's featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. Aldo was also known as the greatest featherweight in MMA history during his prime, as the champ.

Then, there is "The Notorious" Conor McGregor, who's one of the faces of the UFC. He became the 2nd men's featherweight champion after knocking out Jose Aldo in just 13 short seconds! It became the fastest championship victory in UFC history.

In the women's division, we got names such as Cris Cyborg, who had an undefeated record for 13 impressive years! We also have Amanda Nunes and at last but not the least, the first women's featherweight champion of the world, Germaine de Randamie.

5. LIGHTWEIGHT (146 lbs to 155 lbs)

          

This class is restricted to a maximum limit of 155 lbs. The division became quite irrelevant after UFC 49 as it fell into desuetude. Nonetheless, it came back into the game in 2006, at UFC 58. Jens Pulver aka "little evil" was crowned as the inaugural UFC men's lightweight champion after he defeated Caol Uno in 2001.

Some of the top talents the division has to offer are Conor McGregor, who has held championships of two different weight classes concurrently. Apart from him, there is Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Justin Gaethje, Sean Sherk, BJ Penn, etc.

6. WELTERWEIGHT (156 lbs to 170 lbs)

           

The UFC's Welterweight comes under 71 kg to 77 kg at max. This is one of the UFC weight classes which has become very much indispensable. Why? Well, it is because it is the home for some of the greatest MMA fighters. Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, Rafael Dos Anjos are the gems of this division!

Besides this, The Welterweight division is also the domicile for some of the historic UFC fights. One such fight was between BJ Penn and Matt Hughes at UFC 46 (2003). It proved to be an awesome contest when the lightweight fighter, BJ Penn made his Welterweight debut. But, the debut night turned into a championship victory night for Penn, after he made Hughes submit in the very 1st round.

7. MIDDLEWEIGHT (171 lbs to 185 lbs)



The UFC middleweight class is limited to 77.5 kg to a maximum of 84 kg. The division got Dave Menne as its first-ever champion in 2001. The UFC middleweight championship was unified with the Pride World Welterweight championship after Anderson Silva beat Dan Henderson in 2008. Silva is also the longest-reigning UFC middleweight champion with a record of 2457 days as champion. Furthermore, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza, Derek Brunson, Gegard Mousasi are some of the notable names of the division.

8. LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (186 lbs to 205 lbs)



So finally, we've made it to the heavyweights' territory, where most eyes are generally at! The limits for the division is set as 84 kg to 93 kg. The first-ever, inaugural UFC light heavyweight champion was Frank Shamrock.

The famous newsletter, Wrestling Observer has titled him as the "fighter of the decade" of the 1990s. The supreme fighters of this division are namely Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier, Chuck Liddel, Alexander Gustafsson, Anthony Smith, etc.

The light heavyweight division is again one of the UFC weight classes, having several amazing fights in history. Let me choose one for you in case you're not aware of that. Alright, it was Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 (2013).

The fight was too gruelling for both the competitors as they went toe to toe for the UFC light heavyweight championship. Both Jones and Gustafsson gave their best efforts against each other but in the end, Jones retains his gold via decision.

9. HEAVYWEIGHT (206 lbs to 265 lbs)



So here's the last class, the heavyweight division. It is the kingdom of the big dudes in the UFC. This class's limits start from 93.4 kg to 120.2 kg. It is one of the initial UFC weight classes, that was launched along with the lightweight class. Mark Coleman successfully able to put his name in the history of UFC as the first heavyweight champion.

An interesting fact about the heavyweight title is that no fighter was able to defend it consecutively more than two times. But, the record was however broken lately by Stipe Miocic, who successfully able to defend it 3 times.

Some of the greatest heavyweights of all time are Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Junior Dos Santos, Mark Coleman, Randy Couture, Cain Velasquez and of course Stipe Miocic.



SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

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