Why MMA fighters are typically bigger than boxers?

If you’re a fan of contact sports, you might have seen the similarities between them. However, there are certain differences that they have when practiced professionally. One of these is the weight classes in each sport: MMA and boxing might overlap with the names of their divisions, but you’ll note that a person of a particular weight would fit into two different classes in both sports. For example, a Super Flyweight in the boxing ring would translate into a Strawweight in the octagon

What Weight Classes are there in Boxing?

The lightest division in boxing is called the Minimumweight by the WBC, IBF, and WBA. The WBO calls it the Mini Flyweight. There is no upper limit in these weight classes, with fighters who weigh 200 pounds and are overall categorized as heavyweights. In total, there are 17 weight classes in professional boxing.

Weight Division/ Weight Class Max Weight Allowed
Minimumweight / Mini Flyweight 105 lbs, or 47.62 kg
Light Flyweight 108 lbs, or 48.98 kg
Flyweight 112 lbs, or 50.8 kg
Super Flyweight 115 lbs, or 52.16 kg
Bantamweight 118 lbs, or 53.52 kg
Super Bantamweight 122 lbs, or 55.22 kg
Featherweight 126 lbs, or 57.15 kg
Super Featherweight 130 lbs, or 58.96 kg
Lightweight 135 lbs, or 61.23 kg
Super Lightweight 140 lbs, or 63.90 kg
Welterweight 147lbs, or 66.7 kg
Super Welterweight 154 lbs, or 69.85 kg
Middleweight 160 lbs, or 72.57 kg
Super Middleweight 168 lbs, or 76.2 kg
Light Heavyweight 175 lbs, or 79.37 kg
Cruiserweight or Junior Heavyweight 200 lbs, or 90.89 kg
Heavyweight  No Upper Limit

What’s the benefit of all these divisions?

Boxers of various weights can be grouped together using weight classes. They are employed in an effort to create competitive matches between opponents of comparable heights and, ideally, ages. As weight becomes more difficult to drop, bone density rises, and muscle mass is preserved, it is widely believed that older fighters may move up in weight divisions with greater ease.

The lower weight categories in MMA are not divided quite as widely as they are in boxing, which makes it more difficult for a smaller, lighter fighter to stand out against opponents who may weigh many pounds more than they do. For instance, the 115 lbs strawweight class in MMA would have at least 4 boxing categories before it, which leads to more representation at lighter weights. In MMA, there is more of a discrepancy between smaller fighters.

What weight divisions are there in MMA?

The UFC’s set weight divisions govern professional MMA, and there are 14 such divisions in total. The lightest, or Strawweight, category’s limit is 115 lbs. The highest is Super Heavyweight, which is all fighters weighing 265 lbs and above.

Weight Division/ Weight Class Max Weight Allowed
Strawweight 115 lbs, or 52.2 kg
Flyweight 125 lbs, or 56.7 kg
Bantamweight 135 lbs, or 61.2 kg
Featherweight 145 lbs, or 65.8 kg
Lightweight 155 lbs, or 70.3 kg
Super Lightweight 165 lbs, or 74.8 kg
Welterweight 170 lbs, or 77.1 kg
Super Welterweight 175 lbs, or 79.4 kg
Middleweight 185 lbs, or 83.9 kg
Super Middleweight 195 lbs, or 88.5 kg
Light Heavyweight 205 lbs, , or 93 kg
Cruiserweight 225 lbs, or 102.1 kg
Heavyweight 265 lbs, or 120.2 kg
Super Heavyweight No upper limit

Why is the Purpose of Weight Divisions in MMA?

Weight divisions in the UFC were initially introduced in the late ’90s. MMA’s first two weight divisions, lightweight and heavyweight, were initially presented at UFC 12. The weight classes were changed at UFC 31 to meet the most recent standards in the MMA world. The major goal of UFC weight divisions is to create equity among the fighters and make it possible for opponents who are reasonably similar to confront one another without one clearly having the upper hand.

How is Weight checked in Boxing and MMA?

Typically, weigh-ins happen the day prior to a fight. The two competitors are weighed to ensure they do not exceed the predetermined limit of their declared weight class. Due to the benefit of having a height and weight lead, boxers may attempt to drop a significant amount of weight in the days, and sometimes hours, leading up to about so that the majority of the weight lost is fluids, which can be readily restored just before the match the following day.

Are MMA Fighters Heavier than Boxers? 

Since arm reach to body weight ratio is a crucial factor in boxing, there are weight classes for smaller fighters. It is most likely because of this that boxers would aim to lose weight and squeeze into the lowest weight division possible given their body frame. MMA competitors, too, will strive to compete in the lightest weight division. In contrast to boxing, however, the value of kicking, wrestling, and ground fighting in MMA suggests that a fighter’s reach-to-weight ratio is less important. This implies that smaller fighters can build muscle a little more and still compete in a higher weight division in MMA than they would be able to in boxing.

Does UFC being American mean that MMA fighters are heavier?

The UFC has gained popularity in the United States of America might mean there have been a greater number of American fighters competing. The average American fighter is taller and has a higher BMI than their Asian counterparts, which might mean that fewer people are on the lower end of the weight scale. Since lower weights necessitate more divisions, the UFC having fewer divisions would imply fighters there are heavier. 

Is it useful to be heavier in MMA?

Comparatively, boxing has fewer higher-weight categories than MMA. A 245 lbs heavyweight fighter would have a bigger edge over a 210 lb opponent in MMA than they would in boxing because grappling is a significant component of the sport. In boxing, on the other hand, a quick 210 lbs fighter would be at a distinct advantage over a 245 lbs one who their weight may slow down. This explains why MMA fighters are often larger and boxers strive to maintain a slim physique. While carrying extra weight might be beneficial in MMA, it can be detrimental in boxing.

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