The Complete Guide to MMA Weight Classes

The Complete Guide to MMA Weight Classes

 

 

Combat sports weight divisions are used to make sure fighters are matched up with other fighters of similar size and stature, to ensure fair fights are made. In the early days of MMA there were no weight divisions to distinguish between fair and unfair competition. This would see fighters of a slender build like Royce Gracie take on opponents with massive weight advantages like Ken Shamrock, and although these are classic fights with the smaller man winning. They go a long way in delegitimizing a sport and keeping it away from regulation.

Once the Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought the UFC and moved towards regulation. Weight classes, rounds and gloves were introduced to make the sport more intriguing to the mainstream. The original introduction of weight classes had only two divisions: heavyweight, which grouped together all competitors above 200 pounds (91 kg), and lightweight, which encompassed all competitors 199 pounds (90 kg) and under.

At UFC 14 the lightweight division would be renamed to middleweight, though it would still encompass all fighters 199 pounds (90 kg) and under. The lightweight moniker would later return at UFC 16 with a new division consisting of those competitors 170 pounds (77 kg) and under. Two years later a fourth weight class, the bantamweight division, arrived at UFC 26 and included all fighters 155 pounds (70 kg) and under. Meanwhile in 2000, the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board took over MMA regulation in its home state and developed new rules and weight classes that eventually became the de facto rule set for all mixed martial arts. The UFC then realigned their weight classes to comply with these new regulations in 2001, beginning with UFC 31. At the time, this brought the total number of active divisions in the UFC to five: lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. It would be nearly another ten years before the UFC would expand their divisional offerings to include any of the lower weight classes. The first additions came in late 2010 when the UFC merged with their sister organization World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).

Due to the WEC's focus on lighter weight fighters, this merger necessitated the addition of both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions to the UFC, starting with The Ultimate Fighter season 12 finale. In early 2012 the UFC decided they would delve even further into the lower weight classes when they announced the introduction of the flyweight division to their ranks, beginning with UFC on FX: Alves vs. Kampman. In 2012, as a result of the purchase and dissolution of Strikeforce, the UFC announced they would be adding female fighters to their roster for the first time in the promotion's history. Initially, only the women's bantamweight division was brought over, with the division's premiere bout taking place at UFC 157. A little over a year later, the UFC announced they would be expanding their weight classes for female fighters with the addition of a women's strawweight division, the first bout took place at UFC Fight Night: Cowboy vs. Miller. In late 2016, a featherweight division was introduced for the women with the first bout to be for the inaugural championship at UFC 208 on February 11, 2017. In that same year the UFC announced the Women's Flyweight division would officially be added, with the winner of the 26th season of The Ultimate Fighter to be named the inaugural champion.

 

What are the weight classes in MMA?

Flyweight                  125 lb          57 kg

Bantamweight         135 lb           61 kg

Featherweight          145 lb          66 kg

Lightweight              155 lb           70 kg

Welterweight            170 lb           77 kg

Middleweight           185 lb           84 kg

Light Heavyweight   205 lb           93 kg

Heavyweight            205-265 lb    93-120 kg

 

 

Demetrious Johnson MMA

 

Flyweight - 125 lb (57 kg)

The UFC's first 125-pound fights came in early 2012 in the form of a four-man tournament to determine the division's first champion. The division has had its ups and downs, with chatter about dissolving the division going on for many years. Until it displayed some star power and has proved it's staying power. 

Division History

Flyweights most successful champion, Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152 on 22 September 2012 to be crowned as the inaugural UFC Flyweight Champion. Johnson then went on to hold the title for 2142 days, with 11 title defences. Before being defeated by former olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo. Henry defended the title successfully once before moving up in weight and then retiring from the sport.

The UFC then attempted to put the flyweight title on the line for the first time after that in February 2020. Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez were supposed to fight for the title but Figueiredo missed weight. The fight moved forward with Figueiredo winning and the UFC decided to make an immediate rematch and the fighters met in July for the second time. This time, the Brazilian made weight and defeated Benavidez again.

In November he had his first official title defense by submitting Alex Perez. In December already he had a fight against Mexican Brandon Moreno and that bout ended up in a draw. Deiveson’s championship ended in June this year when he lost to the same Moreno in the rematch via submission.

The UFC then booked the fight again, this time with Deiveson squeeking out a decision win. There has been chatter about another match between the two. While New Zealand fighter Kai Kara-France has also earned himself a title match. 

Current Champion

Deiveson Figueiredo

 

 

TJ Dillashaw Cody Garbrandt MMA

 

Bantamweight - 135 lbs (61 kg)

With the initial idea of lighter weight classes being that they do not draw well on PPV, the bantamweight division did not get as much publicity or push as other divisions. But it has since proved to have some of the most technical and skilled fighters in the sport.

Division History

Dominic Cruz, the reigning WEC Bantamweight Champion, was crowned the first UFC Bantamweight Champion as he retained the title against Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53. After two title defenses, Cruz got sidelined after suffering a torn ACL injury. UFC announced a bout between Renan Barão and Urijah Faber for the interim Bantamweight title. Renan Barão became the interim champion at UFC 149. He defended twice while Cruz continued to suffer from multiple injuries. TJ Dillashaw later won the title from Barao, but was defeated by the return of Dominic Cruz in the fight night event on 17 January 2016.

Later that year, Cody Garbrandt defeated Cruz to become 5th UFC Bantamweight Champion. While Dillashaw then returned to defeat Cody at UFC 217 in their highly anticipated teammates turned enemies matchup. Dillashaw relinquished the title after testing positive for EPO and was banned from the sport for two years while Henry Cejudo became the next Bantamweight Champion by defeating Marlon Moraes at UFC 238. Cejudo became just the fourth fighter to hold two different UFC titles at the same time as he was also the Flyweight Champion at the time. Cejudo successfully defended the title against Cruz at UFC 249 on 9 May 2020. After this bout, Cejudo announced his retirement from MMA and relinquished the title.

Petr Yan proceeded to defeat Jose Aldo at UFC 251 to become the new champion. Yan lost the title in his first defense to Aljamain Sterling after an illegal knee strike in the fourth round. With this win, Sterling became the first UFC fighter to win a championship by disqualification. The rematch took place recently at UFC 273, with Aljamain winning a controversial decision victory.

Current Champion

Aljamain Sterling

 

 

Jose Aldo muay thai

 

Featherweight - 145 lbs (66 kg)

Jose Aldo was considered the greatest featherweight of all time, with 7 title defenses. There has since been some debate with the defeat at the hands of Max Holloway and the rise of Alexander Volkanovski. 

Division History

Jose Aldo reigned supreme over the division for years and looked nearly unbeatable, until he wasn't. In his early years he fought with hammering leg kicks that would cripple opponents, while later in his career he has taken to a move counter striking boxing approach. Jose was dethroned by rising star Conor McGregor in 13 seconds, in what became an instant classic and highlight of the Irishman's career. Conor never fought in the division again, after taking the lightweight title and challenging Floyd Mayweather.

Enter Max Holloway, the Hawaiian looked like the next phenom of the division. Defeating Jose twice to obtain the title and many believed he would become the greatest featherweight of all time. But a contender was slowly emerging that would take the division by storm. Alexander Volkanovski, fighting out of Australia would make a name for himself by defeating Max Holloway twice, first decisively, then controversially. 

Alex has since beaten Brian Ortega in an absolute war and then the Korean Zombie in a masterclass of MMA. 

Current Champion

Alexander Volkanovski

 

 

Khabib Nurmagomedov Conor McGregor

 

Lightweight - 155 lb (70 kg)

Considered the most skilled and toughest division in all of MMA, lightweight constantly has a killers row of top 5-10 fighters who look like they could take over. The division has fighters who are small enough to be very coordinated and technical, while being large enough to possess knockout power. 

Division History

Prior to 2001, the Lightweight division was called the Bantamweight division. From May 2001, UFC realigned the division classes with the norms from New Jersey State Athletic Commission and renamed Bantamweight to Lightweight.

Jens Pulver was the first UFC Lightweight Champion after beating Caol Uno and remained the champion until he was stripped of the title due to leaving the UFC. At which point the UFC held a four-man tournament to crown a new champion. The final match of the tournament between BJ Penn and Caol Uno ended in a draw. After this UFC put the division and the title on hold until 2006.

The title continued to be contested until Conor McGregor went on a break in 2017. Tony Ferguson became the interim champion at UFC 216 due to McGregor’s inactivity. Both McGregor and Ferguson were stripped off the title in 2018. At which point a considered GOAT of MMA, Khabib Nurmagomedov became the new Lightweight Champion at UFC 223. Khabib and Conor had one of the most highly anticipated matchups in MMA history after Conor attacked Khabib's bus because of his encounter with McGregors teammate, Artem Lobov. Khabib defeated Conor via 4th round submission and proceeded to attack McGregors teammates outside of the cage, which sparked a post fight brawl that stained the sport. 

Amid contract negotiations with Khabib, UFC held Dustin Poirier vs Max Halloway’s fight for the interim title at UFC 236 which was won by Poirier. Khabib defeated Poirier in the undisputed Lightweight title fight at UFC 242. Tony Ferguson was supposed to challenge Khabib at UFC 249 but Khabib was unable to travel from Russia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Ferguson faced Justin Gaethje in another interim title fight on 9 May 2020.

Gaethje won that bout to become the interim Lightweight Champion and later faced Khabib at UFC 254 in October 2020. Khabib was able to retain the title. However, he announced his retirement from MMA and UFC vacated the title on 9 March 2021. Khabib is the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion with a title reign of 1077 days. Charles Oliveira won the vacant title at UFC 262. Oliveira has since defeated Dustin Poirier and is scheduled to defend his belt against Justin Gaethje. 

Current Champion

Charles Oliveira

 

 

Georges St. Pierre MMA

  

Welterweight - 170 lb (77 kg)

Originally known as lightweight, the UFC’s welterweight division has always been a fan favourite. From era and sport defining fighters like as Georges St. Pierre and Matt Hughes, to highly entertaining clashes between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor, the division has captivated us since it’s beginnings. With Kamaru Usman holding the belt firmly in his hands after multiple defences, the term “GOAT” has been making the rounds in the MMA world.

Division History

Maybe best known for developing and creating the "Miletich Fighting Systems," Pat Miletich was the first 170-pound champion at UFC Brazil in 1998 with a decision victory over Mikey Burnett. Miletich went on to defend the belt four times, including a win over Andre Pederneiras, trainer of Jose Aldo and founder of Nova União in Brazil. Carlos Newton then became the first man to beat Miletich in the UFC. Winning by submission victory at UFC 31 on May 4, 2001 to become the second welterweight champion.

At UFC 34, Matt Hughes defeated Newton in what was one of the strangest outcomes in MMA history. Matt was caught in a triangle choke as he held Carlos Newton against the cage. As he started to go out from the choke, Hughes slammed Newton to the mat, knocking Newton out cold and making Hughes the third champion in welterweight history. He defended his title five times, including a rematch with Newton and wins over Sean Sherk and Frank Trigg.

B.J. Penn ended Hughes' title run with a submission victory at UFC 46 on January 31, 2004. However, his title run was short-lived, as Penn was stripped of the belt 107 days later after leaving for K-1. He would later win the UFC lightweight title upon his return and was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2015. 

Matt Hughes proceeded to become the first two-time UFC champion in the division's history after defeating Georges St-Pierre for the vacant title at UFC 50 on Oct 22, 2004. He defended the belt twice more, including avenging his loss to Penn at UFC 63. Georges St-Pierre then became champion and avenged the only loss of his career at that point when he ended Matt Hughes' title reign at UFC 65 on November 18, 2006. GSP was the first man to knock out Hughes in the UFC and became the second Canadian to hold a UFC title after Carlos Newton.

It was thought that GSP would have a long title reign, before Long Island's own, Matt Serra was granted a title shot after winning Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter. A 11-1 underdog, Serra won the belt with a first-round knockout in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Then after winning two fights without the belt, including an interim title bout against Matt Hughes, St-Pierre avenged his loss to Serra at UFC 83 on April 19, 2008 and went on an historic run as welterweight champion. GSP defended the belt nine times, including once against interim champion Carlos Condit at UFC 154. At 2,064 days, St-Pierre's reign was the second-longest in UFC history. Before he voluntarily vacated the belt to take a break from the sport.

After losing a controversial decision in St-Pierre's last fight as champion, Johny Hendricks was able to secure the vacant title with a decision win over Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 on March 15, 2014. But the former Strikeforce middleweight champion Robbie Lawler earned a rematch with Hendricks and capitalized, turning it on in the final round to win a split decision for his first UFC title. He then defended the belt in two of the greatest title matches in UFC history, stopping Rory MacDonald in the final round and winning a split decision over Carlos Condit.

Former Division I All-American wrestler Tyron Woodley became just the second man to stop Robbie Lawler with strikes, knocking out the champion and winning the belt at UFC 201. He then fought Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson to a majority draw in a highly entertaining fight, before facing him again and again winning the rematch. Woodley proceeded to defeat Demian Maia and Darren Till before running into the Nigerian nightmare Kamaru Usman. 

Usman dominated Tyron Woodley at UFC 235, winning the title from him in a clear unanimous decision on March 2, 2019. Usman controlled Woodley on top and with body shots, and the judges scored the bout, 50-44, 50-44, 50-45. Usman then defended his title twice each against Jorge 'gamebred' Masvidal and Colby 'Chaos' Covington.

Current Champion

Karamu Usman 

 

 

Anderson Silva MMA

  

Middleweight - 185 lb (84 kg)

The UFC middleweight championship has also had quite the path, going from a time of inactivity to one of the most dominant reigns. 10 men have held the honor of being UFC middleweight champion, with two interim champions crowned.

Even the UFC middleweight championship name goes back further than the actual UFC middleweight title. The light heavyweight championship was originally known as the middleweight championship upon Frank Shamrock winning it at UFC Japan and was renamed light heavyweight in 2001 during Tito Ortiz’s title reign.

Division History

The UFC introduced its 185-pound championship, coinciding with the new Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts taking effect, with Dave Menne becoming the inaugural champion at UFC 33. Murilo Bustamante then entered the UFC with a strong background in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and ended Menne's short title reign at UFC 35. Bustamante landed a right hand early in the second round that dropped Menne before finishing on the ground. The Brazilian successfully defended his title once against Matt Lindland before vacating his title to sign with Pride in October 2002.

The UFC waited more than two years to fill the vacant middleweight title, eventually pairing Evan Tanner against David Terrell at UFC 51. Tanner fought off a deep guillotine attempt early in the first round, eventually getting on top of Terrell and finishing the fight with punches to grab the title. Tanner competed in the UFC until 2008. In September of that year, Tanner died from heat exhaustion while on an excursion in the Southern California desert.

Rich Franklin made his UFC debut in 2003 with a TKO win over Evan Tanner. He repeated the feat two years later at UFC 53, to win the middleweight championship. The title fight ended by doctor's stoppage because of a cut on Tanner's eye. Franklin was the first true star to hold the middleweight belt, serving as coach on Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter" and successfully defending his belt twice with wins over Nate Quarry and David Loiseau.

Enter the GOAT, after making a name for himself in Pride and London-based Cage Rage, Anderson Silva made his long-awaited UFC debut in 2006 and didn't look back. A quick knockout of Chris Leben put Silva in line for the title, which he easily took from Rich Franklin with another first-round knockout at UFC 64 on Oct. 14, 2006. "The Spider" became the greatest champion the UFC has yet to see, successfully defending his title 10 times. He defeated some of the best 185-pounders in the world during his reign, including Franklin in a rematch, Pride champion Dan Henderson in a title unifier, Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort and Chael Sonnen twice. He also moved up to light heavyweight for an added challenge three times while champion, winning each bout by first-round knockout.

Chris Weidman was seen as a potential challenge for Silva from the beginning of his MMA career, and the Long Island native came through. Following a year of uncertainty because of injury and Hurricane Sandy, Weidman entered the cage against Silva at UFC 162 on July 6, 2013. He capitalized on Silva's showmanship to knock out "The Spider" in the second round. A few months later, Weidman defeated Silva again a few months later when Weidman checked a leg kick, breaking Silva's leg. "The All-American" successfully defended the belt twice more against Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort. His three successful title defenses and three and a half years as middleweight champion are each the second longest in UFC history.

A former Strikeforce middleweight title holder, Luke Rockhold took the belt from Chris Weidman at UFC 194 on Dec. 12, 2015. After Weidman threw an ill-advised spinning kick in the third round, Rockhold took him to the ground and went to work. Rockhold couldn't get the finish in the third, but stayed with it in the fourth to win via TKO.

Rockhold's time as champion came to a quick end in his first title defense at the hands of Michael Bisping. When Chris Weidman pulled out of a rematch against Rockhold at UFC 199 due to injury, Bisping stepped in following a decision win over Silva in his previous bout. The former "Ultimate Fighter" winner pulled off the upset, knocking out Rockhold with punches in the first round. In his first title defense, Bisping won a close decision over Dan Henderson at UFC 204.

St-Pierre returned from a four-year hiatus and submitted Michael Bisping via rear naked choke in the third round to win the middleweight title at UFC 217 at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4, 2017. St-Pierre became the fourth fighter to win title in two UFC weight divisions. Then, 33 days later, St-Pierre vacated the title after saying he was diagnosed with colitis.

Robert Whittaker won the interim middleweight title with a unanimous-decision victory over Yoel Romero at UFC 213 on July 8, 2017. Five months later, he was installed as the undisputed middleweight champion after Georges St-Pierre vacated the title a month after winning it from Michael Bisping. He fought Romero at UFC 225 in June 2018 and won by split decision but it did not count as a title defense because Romero missed weight and was therefore not eligible to win the title. After an injury forced Whittaker to withdraw the night before a title defense against Kelvin Gastelum, Whittaker finally make the walk with his belt on the line at UFC 243. He lost via second-round stoppage to Israel Adesanya.

Adesanya won the interim title by unanimous decision against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 on April 13, 2019. Less than six months later, he knocked out Robert Whittaker to become the undisputed champion at UFC 243. He made his first title defense at UFC 248 on March 7, 2020, beating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision. Then, on Sept. 26, he stopped Paulo Costa in the second round at UFC 253, for his ninth straight win in the UFC, tying him with Weidman for the second longest streak in the division's history behind Silva's 13.

Current Champion

Israel Adesanya

 

 

Jon Jones MMA

  

Light-Heavyweight - 205 lb (93 kg)

The light heavyweight division was the crown jewel of the UFC during the earlier years. Once known as the middleweight championship, the division was flushed with the who’s who of the UFC. It became the divisional standard-bearer for the promotion, featuring the biggest fights and the biggest names in fighting to vie for the belt.

The division would be renamed the light heavyweight division not long after it’s creation and would grace the waist of many of the sport’s most popular fighters.

Division History

The light heavyweight division was the crown jewel of the UFC during the earlier years. Once known as the middleweight championship, the division was flushed with the who’s who of the UFC. It became the divisional standard-bearer for the promotion, featuring the biggest fights and the biggest names in fighting to vie for the belt.

The division would be renamed the light heavyweight division not long after its creation and would grace the waist of many of the sport’s most popular fighters.

Frank Shamrock, adoptive brother of fellow UFC icon Ken Shamrock, became the first man to ever win the then named UFC middleweight championship by defeating Kevin Jackson. Shamrock was so dominant during his reign, he’d retire due to a lack of competition. The title was eventually renamed to the light heavyweight championship.

Defeating the great Wanderlei Silva, Tito Ortiz won the vacant middleweight championship and would hold the title during the name transition from middleweight to light heavyweight. Ortiz is considered to be one of the first mainstream champions in the history of the promotion.

After winning the interim championship, Randy Couture would go on to defeat Ortiz for the light heavyweight championship and merge the titles. Couture became the first man to win championships in two divisions. A freak accident eye injury would see Couture lose the title to Vitor Belfort, setting up a rematch. Couture would win his third championship after defeating Belfort in the rematch.

Arguably the division’s most popular fighter, former wrestler turned kickboxer would knockout Couture and ascend to legendary status. Liddell became champion at the same time the UFC was finally reaching mainstream appeal thanks in part to The Ultimate Fighter. A rematch from the old PRIDE FC days, Liddell would fall to Quinton Jackson is only Jackson’s second fight in the UFC. Jackson’s victory over Liddell would mark the beginning of the end of Liddell’s career.

Jackson was expected to have a lengthy and legendary run but got upset by Forrest Griffin, someone considered to be more heart than talent. Griffin was one of two winners of that first season of the Ultimate Fighter that would save the UFC.

The second season of the Ultimate Fighter would see Rashad Evans win, and go on to defeat Griffin for the championship. By winning Evans would cement the legacy of the Ultimate Fighter’s second season. A swift punch from Lyoto Machida was all it took to end Evans run as UFC light heavyweight champion. Machida would become one of the few fighters in UFC history to have a background mainly in karate to win a championship.

Mauricio Rua came over from PRIDE but suffered losses to Forrest Griffin and Machida shortly after debuting in the UFC. He’d eventually get a rematch against Machida and this time would unseat the karate expert.

A controversial champion, Jon Jones would go on to defend the belt 8 times. But also tested positive for banned substances almost as many times as he had successful title defenses in his first reign. Jones defeated Rua by TKO and the win would launch his career into unseen notoriety like never before.

Jones would also later be stripped of the title after he hit a pregnant woman with his car and fled the scene. Daniel Cormier would defeat Anthony Johnson to win the vacant title. As Cormier moved up to heavyweight Jones regained and defended the belt until he vacated after beating Dominick Reyes.

Reyes then fought for the vacant title against polish giant Jan Blachowicz. Jan was able to defend the belt a few times, including defeating Middleweight superstar Israel Adesanya before being defeated by 42 year old Glover Teixeira at UFC 267, in what was a feel good story in Glovers tenured career.

Current Champion

Glover Teixeira

 

 

Brock Lesnar MMA

  

Heavyweight - 205-265 lb (93-120 kg)

In combat sports, the title of Heavyweight Champion carries a special mystique. Whether it’s due to exceptional skill or stature or both, heavyweights are magnets for fame. Boxing has its Muhammad Alis and Mike Tysons; wrestling has its Aleksandr Karelins and Bruce Baumgartners. Mixed Martial Arts is no exception. Below, a complete list of UFC Heavyweight Champions since the inception of the division.

Division History

UFC Heavyweight Championship was introduced on 7 February 1997 at UFC 12 by uniting the UFC Superfight Championship and UFC Tournament Championship. Mark Coleman defeated Dan Severn via submission to become the inaugural UFC Heavyweight Champion. Maurice Smith dethroned Coleman in his first title defense at UFC 14 by decision in a fight that went into two overtimes.

Smith later became the first fighter to defend the Heavyweight title successfully at UFC 15 against Tank Abbott. Randy Couture won the title next at UFC Japan in December 1997. Couture was stripped of the title when he left UFC after a contract dispute. Bas Rutten defeated Kevin Randleman for the vacant title at UFC 20. Rutten also vacated the title as he decided to drop down to the Light Heavyweight division.

Kevin Randleman won the title in his second attempt as he defeated Pete Williams at UFC 23. Couture won the title for the second time as he defeated Randleman via TKO in the third round at UFC 28. Couture defended the title against Pedro Rizzo successfully before losing it to Josh Barnett by TKO. Barnett was found positive for anabolic steroids in a post-fight drug test and was stripped of the title on 26 July 2002.

Ricco Rodriguez defeated Couture via submission to win the title at UFC 39. Tim Sylvia won the title from Rodriguez at UFC 41 with a TKO. After his successful first defense, Sylvia was stripped off the title after being found positive for Stanozolol. Frank Mir defeated Sylvia for the vacant title at UFC 48. Mir was involved in a motorcycle accident on 17 September 2004 and left with injuries in his femur and knee ligaments. Andre Arlovski became the interim Heavyweight Champion by defeating Tim Sylvia. Arlovski was later promoted as the undisputed champion after Mir failed to recover from injuries.

Arlovski had defended against Justin Eller as the interim champion. He also defended the title against Paul Buentello before dropping it to Tim Slyvia in a TKO loss at UFC 59. Sylvia became the second fighter to win the heavyweight title twice. Randy Couture defeated Sylvia in his third title defense to win the UFC Heavyweight title at UFC 68, becoming the first fighter to win the title thrice. Another dispute between Couture and UFC resulted in UFC booking another interim championship fight. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeated Tim Slyvia via submission to become the interim Heavyweight Champion at UFC 81.

After a long dispute, Couture returned to UFC but lost the Heavyweight title to Brock Lesnar at  UFC 91 via TKO. On the other side, Frank Mir defeated Nogueria for the interim championship. Lesnar became the undisputed champion by defeating Mir with TKO at UFC 100. Lesnar went on a spell of illness and was later diagnosed with mononucleosis and diverticulitis. Another interim champion was crowned as Shane Carwin defeated Frank Mir at UFC 111. Then, Lesnar once again united the Heavyweight title by defeating Carwin at 116.

Cain Velasquez dethroned Lesnar at UFC 121 with a TKO win. He lost the title to Junior Dos Santos in what was his first UFC loss. After a successful defense against Frank Mir, Dos Santos lost the title back to Velasquez. Velasquez had successful defenses against Antonio Silva and Dos Santos in their trilogy fight. With Velasquez dealing with injuries, Fabricio Werdum faced Mark Hunt and became interim champion with a TKO win. Werdum became the undisputed champion by defeating Velasquez.

Stipe Miocic dominated the Heavyweight scene after winning the title at UFC 198. Over the next two years, Miocic defended the title against Alistair Overeem, Junior Dos Santon and Francis Ngannou. Miocic lost the title to Daniel Cormier in a shocking fashion with a first-round KO after a debilitating eye poke from Cormier.

Miocic defeated Cormier in their rematch at UFC 241 with a TKO in the fourth round. Miocic also won their trilogy fight with a unanimous decision at UFC 251. Miocic dropped the title to Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 after getting knocked out in the second round. Ciryl Gane became the interim champion by defeating Derrick Lewis at UFC 265. Ngannou won the title unification bout at UFC 270.

Current Champion

Francis Ngannou 

How Weigh-Ins Work

All fighters have to successfully weigh in at their divisional limit before a fight. With the weigh-ins typically taking place a day before the bout, in order for fighters to then rehydrate and refuel before eventually taking to the octagon. Sometimes, on lower-level events, fighters may be required to weigh in on fight night, just hours before their actual ring walks. Due to the potential advantage in size and stature over an opponent, fighters may try to lose as much weight as possible in the lead up to the official weigh-in then rehydrate back to their usual size. If a fighter misses weight, they may be given extra time to meet the limit for another attempt, but bouts are often cancelled if a fighter cannot make this properly in the end.

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