(Click on the chart for the full size version. For previous Databombs, click here.)
Wondering if you’re “big” or just “average?” Just how big is average for a UFC fighter? Well that depends on the weight class obviously. Here’s the current UFC roster of fighters put into divisions with average (mean) height and reach (mean averages based on UFC Roster as of June, 2013). Next time someone says a fighter is “big for their weight class,” check the facts first.
The range of UFC divisions spans 140 pounds, which on average translates into about one foot of additional height and reach from the Flyweights to the Heavyweights. It’s important to note there is plenty of variability that occurs with in each weight class. Bodies are tall and lean or sometimes short and stocky. And the larger the division is, the wider the range of maximums and minimums. Just think of heavyweights Stefan Struve and Pat Barry facing off with over a one foot height differential in the same weight class.
It’s also interesting that the average size of each weight class has been increasing in recent years. If we were to go back to 2005 or so, what we would see is the average height and reach being lower in all divisions. This is due to the highly competitive evolution of modern MMA which has driven fighters to pack more athleticism into a leaner body. The result is numerous fighters dropping weight classes to remain optimally competitive, and finding ways to optimize their bodies for fighting.
And look at the new women’s division. At Bantamweight there’s a discernible difference in size between male and female fighters weighing in at the same weight limit. The men’s division has been around a lot longer and has greater competition from a large pool of contenders, who are experienced pros at cutting weight. And despite their larger frames, they manage to pack more muscle and size onto the scale on weigh-in day. Competition always pushes the limits of human anthropometrics.
So how do you measure up? Are you a lightweight that eats like a middleweight? Or are you a welterweight in the frame of a bantamweight?