The UFC started in 1993 as an open weight, no holds barred, no time limit Mixed Martial Arts competition. The sport evolved over time and started using weight classes at UFC 12 in 1997. The UFC first introduced the Lightweight and Heavyweight divisions in ’97, followed by the introduction of the Middleweight division at UFC 16 in 1998.

As of this year, the UFC maintains a total of 12 weight classes; 8 men’s divisions and 4 women’s divisions.

All UFC Weight Classes

DivisionWeight LimitRankings
Heavyweight265 lbsMen
Light Heavyweight205 lbsMen
Middleweight185 lbsMen
Welterweight170 lbsMen
Lightweight155 lbsMen
Featherweight145 lbsMen | Women
Bantamweight135 lbsMen | Women
Flyweight125 lbsMen | Women
Strawweight115 lbsWomen
UFC weight classes – men’s and women’s divisions

Weight limits

Fighters need to weigh-in at or under the contracted fighting weight in order to be allowed into the octagon. For example: Deiveson Figueiredo defended his belt against Brandon Moreno at Flyweight. As it was a title fight, the upper limit for weigh-ins is strictly 125 lbs. Both fighters made weight and the fight was allowed to go ahead.

Fighters typically weigh-in dehydrated, and weigh significantly more when they step into the octagon the following day.

Michael is a lifelong fight fan and martial artist. He has been in the MMA world for over a decade as an athlete and analyst. A consummate student of the game, Michael lives and breathes fight sports.