Did you know that The UFC acknowledges 5 female weight classes in women’s Mixed Martial Arts? Moreover, each class retains its prevailing champions that command the scene in addition to up-and-coming talents who aspire to one day best them in the cage. With MMA continuing to rise in popularity among women, these weight classes are becoming even more pertinent.

And just like The UFC south of the border, Canada has official weight classes for Canadian female fighters as well. Weight classes are necessary as they ensure all things are equal in the cage and that the determining factor for victory is the fighter’s skill more than anything else.

Keep reading to learn more about the 5 weight classes in Canadian women’s MMA.

What Are Weight Classes?

MMA currently has 9 weight classes for fighters; these weight classes are a set of criteria fighters must meet. The upper weight in each category is the limit that the fight cannot exceed if they are to compete in that bracket. If they fail to “make weight,” they have 3 options:

  1. Fight in a different weight class
  2. Fight another opponent
  3. Pick a weight class based on their athletic abilities at that weight

What Happens at Weigh-in?

Weigh-in is typically scheduled close to fight night. A fighter must step on a scale where officials check to see if they are within the weight limits of their designated weight class. For professional fighters especially are under a lot of pressure during this time. Why? Unlike amateur fights, pros cannot change simply weight classes if they don’t make weight. So more than likely, failing here could result in forfeiting the fight. During weigh-in, fighters remove everything except their undergarments. Officials that ensure the weight requirements are met are the same sex as the fighter.

1. Atomweight (105 lbs)

The atomweight division (which is also the minimum weight division) in women’s mixed martial arts refers to fighters weighing in at or below 105 lbs (or 48 kg). It claims the spot directly beneath the more hefty strawweight division. Moreover, it is also the lightest weight category that MMA recognizes. 

The atomweight division is not clearly articulated in any of MMA’s Unified Rules. However, it is used almost entirely for women’s mixed martial arts, and for this reason, it confidently retains its place within the competitive landscape of the sport.

2. Women's Strawweight Division (115 lbs)

The strawweight division retains a lower limit that bottoms out at 106 lbs (or 48 kg). And the upper limit tops out at 115 lbs (or 52 kg). The present strawweight champion is Chinese MMA fighter Weili Zhang (also referred to as "Magnum"). She was crowned this title back in a 2019 fight against Jéssica Andrade and has successfully defended it once against Joanna Jędrzejczyk (a former strawweight champion) in 2020 at the UFC 248 fight.

3. Women's Flyweight Division (125 lbs)

The lower limit for the Flyweight class for women’s MMA is a modest 116 lbs (or 53kg), and fighters cannot weigh less than 125 lbs (or 57 kg). Valentina Shevchenko – also known as "Bullet" due to her speed in the ring – is the current flyweight champion. Moreover, she has retained this title for 4 years running. Demonstrating how fighters can – from time to time – move in between weight divisions, she defeated the previously mentioned Jędrzejczyk to earn this title.

4. Women's Bantamweight Division (135 lbs)

With a 9-pound range beginning at 126 lbs and going to 135 lbs, the Bantamweight division is where we come to some of the more well-known and prominent names in women’s mixed martial arts. Ronda Rousey, for example, is one of the most famous female MMA fighters of all time, touted as the uncontested champion within this division just a couple of short years ago. 

However, these days it’s Amanda Nunes who currently retains this prestigious designation. Furthermore, Nunes is the very first woman to retain the title as champion in numerous divisions; she is number one in the Featherweight division.

5. Women's Featherweight Division (145 lbs)

The featherweight division requires a 145lb upper limit. As already stated, Amanda Nunes remains the current champion. Also referred to as "The Lioness," she fought Canadian fighter Felicia Spencer (also known as "Feenom") back in June of 2020 and, by unanimous decision, won the fight and successfully defended her championship title.

A small division at the moment, the Featherweight class is steadily expanding. No official ranking exists, as only two potential competitors for the championship title are present.

Final Thoughts

With stiff competition and excellent fighters in the four women's mixed martial arts weight classes, it's not hard to see why fans remain on pins & needles. The weight classes are a brilliant way to even the playing field for all fighters involved. As such, they are and will continue to be a way to organize events. 

Pallas Athena Women’s Fighting Championship is the first all-women MMA corporation in Western Canada. Moreover, we are set to become the number one all-women’s fighting league in North America. 

As such, if you’re curious whether you have what it takes to join the ranks, be sure to fill out our fighter registration form today.