UFC Women’s Weight Classes

UFC Women’s Weight Classes

It has been a little over a decade since the UFC first added their first women’s weight division. Since then, there are now multiple UFC women’s weight classes, and possibly more to come in the future.

Here is a full breakdown of the UFC women’s weight classes. We’ll go over the history of women’s divisions in the UFC and the timelines of champions within each division.

How Many UFC Women’s Weight Classes Are There Currently? 

As of now, there are currently four UFC women’s weight classes within the organization. The first of the UFC women’s weight classes was the women’s bantamweight division, which debuted in 2013.

Weight Class:Weight in lbsWeight in Kgs
Strawweight 115 lbs53 kgs
Flyweight125 lbs57 kgs
Bantamweight135 lbs61 kgs
Featherweight145 lbs66 kgs

The History of the UFC Women’s Weight Classes 

For the longest time, UFC President Dana White often stated that the organization would never add women’s divisions. White quickly changed his opinion in late 2012/2013 when Strikeforce was bought by the UFC.

During this time, Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey was becoming a star. Millions were tuning in to see Rousey judo toss her opponents and lock in an arm bar.

The very first women’s match in UFC history took place at UFC 157 between Ronda Rousey and Liz Caramouche. All of the pressure was on those two to deliver a great match if the UFC was going to continue female MMA.

Rousey was able to deliver and became one of the biggest stars in the UFC. Through her success, the organization began gradually adding more UFC women’s weight classes.

As of now, there are currently four women’s weight classes and possibly more to be added in the future.

The UFC Women’s Strawweight Division 

In 2014, the strawweight division was the second of the UFC women’s weight classes to be added. This division has produced some of the best fights in MMA history.

Everything from the Joanna Champion and Rose Namajunas rivalry to Weili Zhang’s battles with the two champions.

Timeline of UFC Women’s Strawweight Champions

In the history of the UFC women’s strawweight division, there have been eight title changes. Here is a timeline of the women’s strawweight champions.

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Carla Esparza (2014 to 2015, No Title Defenses)

Carla Esparza became the inaugural UFC strawweight division at the TUF: A Champion Will Be Crowned finale. Esparza submitted Rose Namajunas with an RNC to become the first champion in the division’s history.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk (2015 to 2017, 5 Title Defenses)

Women’s MMA legend Joanna Jederzejczyk was the second champion in the division’s history. Joanna Champion had one of the most dominant runs in women’s history with five successful title defenses. She earned the title as “Boogeywoman” of the strawweight division.

Women’s Strawweight Champions

Rose Namajunas (2017 to 2019, 1 Title Defense)

“Thug Rose” delivered one of the most spectacular TKO win against Joanna Champion at UFC 217. Namajunas went on to defend her title one time after winninthe rematch against Joanna.

Jessica Andrade (2019, No Successful Title Defenses)

Jessica Andrade was able to shock the world by beating champ Namajunas by slam at UFC 237. Her reign would only last a few months as she was defeated by Zhang Weili in her next bout.

Zhang Weili (2019 to 2021, 1 Title Defense)

Weili headlined a UFC FN event in 2019 against  Andrade, where she decimated the champ.

Her next fight was her one successful title defense against Joanna Champion.This fight was considered one of the best fights of 2020.

Rose Namajunas (2021 to 2022, 1 Title Defense)

Rose made history by becoming the first 2x UFC strawweight Champion by knocking out Weili. She went on to defend the belt against the Chinese fighter in their rematch.

Carla Esparza (2022, 0 Title Defenses)

Carla Esparza proved to have Namajunas’ number as she beat her again for the title at UFC 274. Her second reign as champion lasted only six months.

Zhang Weili (Current Champion)

The title changed hands again as Zhang Weili regained the championship after submitting Carla Esparza. During this current reign, Zhang has had one successful title defense so far.

The UFC Women’s Flyweight Division

The women’s flyweight division was the last of the UFC  women’s weight classes that the company added. This division made its inaugural debut in 2017 and had 3 different champions.

Timeline of UFC Women’s Flyweight Champions

Since 2017, 3 different fighters have held the women’s flyweight title. Here is a breakdown of those three title reigns.

Nicco Montano (2017, No Title Defenses) 

Nicco Montano made it to the finals of the TUF series to crown the first female flyweight champion. She fought Roxanne Modafferi in the finals of the event and won a decision to become the division’s first champion.

Unfortunately for Montano, she was stripped of the title after suffering medical problems during her weight cut. In a first, the UFC stripped Montano of the title and set up a new fight for the vacant title.

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Valentina Shevchenko (2018 to 2023, 7 Title Defenses) 

With Montano out as champion, another match was made between Joanna Champion and Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 231. The two had a great match, which Valentina won by decision to become the flyweight champ. 

Shevchenko dominated the division for the next five years. In that five years, she defended her title a record seven times successfully, while breaking numerous division records. 

Alexa Grasso (Current Champion)

At UFC 285, Mexican fighter Alexa Grasso shocked the world by defeating reigning champion Valentina. She dominated the champion on the ground and was able to lock in a submission in the fourth round.

The two would have a rematch headline a UFC FN event in September of 2023. Unfortunately, the bout ended in an unsatisfying majority draw.

The UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division

The very first women’s division within the UFC was the women’s bantamweight weight class. As mentioned above, the inaugural women’s bantamweight match took place at UFC 157.

The UFC women’s bantamweight division has produced some of the most exciting matches in MMA history. Everything from Holm vs. Rousey to Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes.

Timeline of UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champions 

Among the UFC women’s weight classes, the women’s bantamweight division has had the most title changes. Here is a timeline of champions within the women’s bantamweight division.

Ronda Rousey (2013 to 2015, 6 Title Defenses)

Ronda Rousey was the inaugural UFC women’s bantamweight champion. She held the title for two years and defended her title six times during her reign. All of Rousey’s career wins were finishes and was undefeated until her defeat against Holly Holm.

Holly Holm (2015 to 2016, 0 Title Defenses)

Holly Holm was the second champion of the division after her devastating KO win against Ronda Rousey. Holm’s reign as champion would be short as she was submitted by Miesha Tate in her first title defense.

Miesha Tate (2016 to 2016, 0 Title Defenses)

Women’s Bantamweight Champions 

Miesha Tate won the women’s bantamweight title after her shocking come-from-behind victory against Holly Holm. Tate’s title reign would also be a short one after dropping the title to Amanda Nunes in her first title defense.

Amanda Nunes (2016 to 2021, 5 Title Defenses)

Former champ and Women’s MMA GOAT Amanda Nunes was the fourth champion in the division’s history. Nunes was the most dominant bantamweight champion, who defended her title five times during her first reign.

Julianna Pena (2021 to 2022, 0 Title Defenses)

Julianna Pena became the fifth champion in the division’s history at UFC 269. Pena was able to dethrone the reigning champ and queen of women’s MMA in Amanda Nunes. Her reign as champion would last less than a year after losing the belt in the rematch against Amanda.

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Amanda Nunes (2022 to 2023. 1 Title Defense)

Amanda Nunes would rematch Julianna Pena for the title at UFC 277. The former champ would take back her title from Pena and defended once against Irene Aldana at UFC 289.

After the bout, Nunes announced her retirement from the sport and vacated the title. However, there is talk that she could be returning to fight in the future.

The UFC Women’s Featherweight Division

The UFC is(was) the third of the UFC women’s weight classes that was created in 2017. It was basically created as an extra division for Cyborg Santos, who couldn’t make 135 lbs. 

Not many understand why the division continued for so long as there were little no fighters within the weight class

Timeline of UFC Women’s Featherweight Champions 

In the history of the UFC women’s featherweight division, there have been only three champions.

Germaine de Randamie (2017, No Title Defenses)

Germaine de Randamie beat Holly Holm by decision to become the inaugural women’s featherweight champ at UFC 208. For many fans, the decision was controversial as Randamie committed multiple fouls, but wasn’t deducted points.

Controversy grew even larger as the newly crowned champ quickly relinquished the title after winning it. The move was seemingly to avoid fighting Cris Cyborg, which many fans were not happy about.

Cris Cyborg (2017 to 2018, 2 Title Defenses)

After Randamie vacated the women’s featherweight title, the organization had to put together another fight. The matchmakers came up with a last minute match putting Cris Cyborg against Tonya Evinger.

Cyborg brutally pounded Evinger to become the 2nd UFC women’s featherweight champ. Cris would go on to hold the title for over a year and successfully defend it twice.

She beat former bantamweight champ Holly Holm and Russian fighter Yana Santos.

Amanda Nunes (2018 to 2023, 2 Title Defenses)

Women’s Featherweight Champions 

One of the biggest matches in women’s MMA history took place at UFC 232. Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes moved up to face Cris Cyborg in an attempt to become a 2-division champ.

Nunes shocked the world by knocking out the seemingly unbeatable Cyborg in under a minute. She made history by becoming the first female fighter to hold two titles in different UFC women’s weight classes.

Despite winning her second world title, Nunes would only defend her title twice in five years. After beating Megan Anderson, she vacated the featherweight title and later the bantamweight title before retiring from the sport.

Since then, the women’s featherweight division has seemingly been done away with. There hasn’t been another women’s featherweight match since Nunes dropped the title.

Will There Be More UFC Women’s Weight Classes in the Future?

As of now, the organization currently has no plans to add more UFC women’s weight classes. However, you never know with the UFC and you could possibly see another division in the coming years.