In every combat sport, the fighter’s height can be a significant advantage. The UFC is no different but with weight and height being closely related, rarely is there a huge mismatch.
But have you ever wondered what’s the average height of a UFC fighter? I’ll answer that question and a lot more below. I’ll not only look at the average height for each division but also the tallest fighters of all time. Let’s take a look!
Table of Contents
- Average UFC Fighters Height
- The Average UFC Fighter Height
- Tallest MMA Fighters of All Time
- Is There a Relationship Between Weight Class and Height in UFC?
- What’s the Disadvantages and Advantages of Height in UFC?
Average UFC Fighters Height
Before I talk about the heights, I have to explain the UFC weight classes and their importance first. You see, while it’s possible to do the math and calculate the average UFC fighter height, it doesn’t give you the right picture. That’s because there are currently about 1,000 active UFC fighters, men and women combined.
The number might seem big but given that UFC has eight weight divisions for men and four weight divisions for women, the average height differs by a lot between divisions. To make matters more complicated, not all divisions have the same number of fighters.
The lightweight division for men is considered the deepest division in terms of competition since it has the most fighters with over 110 active registered fighters. Meanwhile, the light heavyweight division only has 68 active fighters as of writing. Not to mention the women’s featherweight division that has less than 10 active fighters.
Since the distribution is like that, the overall average height ratio would be heavily skewed towards the lightweight division for men while being skewed towards the flyweight or strawweight divisions for women.
Due ti this, it’s better to look at the average heights across every weight class separately to get a better picture.
The Average UFC Fighter Height
Here’s a table of average UFC fighter heights per weight division as of September 2023.
|Division||Average Height in ft (in cm)|
|Heavyweight (265 lb, 120kg)||6 ft 2.4 in (189 cm)|
|Light Heavyweight (205 lb, 95 kg)||6 ft 1.4 in (186.43 cm)|
|Middleweight (185 lb, 84 kg)||6 ft (183 cm)|
|Welterweight (170 lb, 77 kg)||5 ft 11 in (180.34 cm)|
|Lightweight (155 lb, 70 kg)||5 ft 9.6 in (176.8 cm)|
|Featherweight (145 lb, 65 kg)||5 ft 8.4 in (173.7 cm)|
|Women’s Featherweight (145 lb, 65 kg)||5 ft 7.5 in (171.45 cm)|
|Bantamweight (135 lb, 61 kg)||5 ft 7 in (170.2 cm)|
|Women’s Bantamweight (135 lb, 61 kg)||5 ft 5.3 in (165.86 cm)|
|Flyweight (125 lb, 56 kg)||5 ft 5.6 in (166.6 cm)|
|Women’s Flyweight (125 lb, 56 kg)||5 ft 5 in (165.1 cm)|
|Strawweight (115 lb, 52 kg)||5 ft 3.4 in (161 cm)|
Something to keep in mind with this table is that the average heights are accurate for September 2023 but might change in the future. This is because the number of fighters in every division is low. Here’s a list of total active UFC fighters in every division as of September 2023.
|Division||Total active fighters|
Tallest MMA Fighters of All Time
In the past MMA rules did not include an upper weight limit for the heavyweight category. This made it possible for people like the 616 lb Emmanuel Yarbough to fight in UFC 3. The UFC authorities later implemented weight limits for the heavyweight division as per State Athletic Commission policies.
However, for the list of the tallest MMA fighters of all time, we’re going to ignore the weight limits since many on the list would fail to qualify as MMA fighters under the new rules. Here’s a list of the tallest male MMA fighters of all time, who were all heavyweights.
|1||Stefan Struve||6 ft 11.8 in (213 cm)|
|2||Semmy Schilt||6 ft 11 in (211 cm)|
|3||Gan McGee||6 ft 10 in (208 cm)|
|4||Wes Sims||6 ft 10 in (208 cm)|
|5||Dan Christison||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|6||Emmanuel Yarbrough||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|7||Gerry Harris||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|8||Jack May||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|9||Paul Varelans||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|10||Rafael Carino||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|11||Tim Sylvia||6 ft 8 in (203 cm)|
|12||Alexander Volkov||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|13||Brad Imes||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|14||Daniel Spitz||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|15||Ednaldo Oliveira||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|16||Jon Hess||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|17||Koji Kitao||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|18||Maurice Green||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|19||Sean McCorkle||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
|20||Travis Browne||6 ft 7 in (201 cm)|
Tallest UFC Fighters in Every Weight Class Division
Here’s a list of the tallest UFC fighters of all time across every division as of September 2023.
|Heavyweight||Stefan Struve||6 ft 11.8 in (213 cm)|
|Light Heavyweight||Cyrille Diabate||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Middleweight||Kendal Grove||6 ft 6 in (198 cm)|
|Welterweight||Matt Dwyer||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Lightweight||Corey Hill||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Featherweight||Will Chope||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Bantamweight||George Roop||6 ft 1 in (186 cm)|
|Flyweight||Yuta Sasaki||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Women’s Featherweight||Megan Anderson||6 ft (183 cm)|
|Women’s Bantamweight||Jessamyn Duke||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Women’s Flyweight||Katlyn Chookagian||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Women’s Strawweight||Na Liang||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
Tallest Female UFC Fighters of All Time
On average female fighters tend to be shorter than male fighters in similar weight divisions. However, even among the female fighters, there are some fighters that tower above everyone else. Here’s a list of the tallest UFC female fighters of all time.
|Featherweight||Megan Anderson||6 ft (183 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Jessamyn Duke||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Featherweight||Danyelle Wolf||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Featherweight||Macy Chiasson||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Featherweight||Zarah Fairn dos Santos||5 ft 10 in (178 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Bea Malecki||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Germaine de Randamie||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Irene Aldana||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Leslie Smith||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Strawweight||Jessica Rakoczy||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Flyweight||Antonina Shevchenko||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Flyweight||Poliana Botelho||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Amanda Nunes||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Ashlee Evans-Smith||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Holly Holm||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Julija Stoliarenko||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Ketlen Vieira||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Lucie Pudilova||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Wu Yanan||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Bantamweight||Yuna Kunitskaya||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
Is There a Relationship Between Weight Class and Height in UFC?
Height and weight are closely related to each other in many ways. For example, 6ft UFC fighters are going to be heavier than 5’6 UFC fighters if they are both in shape.
A fighter’s height can make it easy or difficult to meet certain weight class requirements. That isn’t to say that tall fighters can’t qualify for lower weight class divisions or vice versa. However, they will naturally be at a disadvantage when competing in divisions other than what their height is suited for.
This is because muscle mass and fighting styles have a significant impact on the outcome of a fight. A tall lean fighter can fight in a flyweight division but he will be facing a shorter fighter who will have more muscle mass than him.
At similar weight, the tall person has less muscle mass which in turn means he’s pound-for-pound weaker than the short person. This makes them vulnerable to takedowns and submissions. On the flip side, the likes of 5’10 UFC fighters in the heavyweight division would have to over-bulk on muscle mass to compete in the division.
Because of these obvious disadvantages, fighters tend to fight in weight divisions where they feel the most comfortable maintaining their weight and physique according to their height. Hence every weight class division has many fighters with similar heights.
What’s the Disadvantages and Advantages of Height in UFC?
It’s important to note that MMA is first and foremost a skill-heavy combat sport. At the end of the day, your advantages don’t mean much if you fall short in proper skill. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the three most important factors when considering height differences.
A person’s reach is calculated by the distance between a person’s two middle fingers when their arms are spread out horizontally. In most cases, the reach is very similar to your height but in some cases, the reach can be longer or shorter.
Because of that the ape index is used as a metric for fighters. The ape index is the difference between a person’s height and reach. For example, the current UFC pound-for-pound best fighter Jon Jones has an ape index of +8.5” meaning he has a reach 8.5 inches longer than his height.
Since the reach is mostly equal to your height, a tall fighter usually has the reach advantage over a shorter opponent. At similar weight classes, the fighter with a longer reach can dish out punishment from a safe distance giving them a huge advantage.
While the reach is an advantage for a tall fighter, it’s a disadvantage when it comes to grappling and groundwork. A shorter fighter has more muscle and strength than a tall fighter at the same weight. Hence the short fighter will have an easier time out-wrestling their opponent.
The extra muscle mass will also make submissions and chokes of shorter fighters more deadly. This is why fighters with a short height in their divisions tend to specialize in groundwork and submissions.
Another key factor is the center of gravity, a short fighter has a lower center of gravity that makes them more resilient against tackles and takedowns. Meanwhile, a tall fighter’s high center of gravity makes them more vulnerable to takedowns.
Speed and Stamina
The bigger your build, the slower you are in a fight. Tall fighters are generally slower than short fighters. This can make them a sitting target for a speedy opponent. Their large frame also makes them a big target making them vulnerable to body shots.
Still, that isn’t to say that tall fighters can’t be fast. For example, Muhammad Ali, while being a boxer instead of a UFC fighter, was incredibly fast for his height and weight class. Still, fighters like Ali are rare.
What’s the Biggest Height Difference in a UFC Fight?
Stefan Struve vs. Mark Hunt in 2013 was by far the fight with the biggest height difference. Mark Hunt was shorter than Sturve by more an entire foot, at 5’10” vs. Sturve’s 6’11.8” and a 12.5” reach advantage. The fight ended with Mark Hunt’s victory who fought at an extremely close range leaving Sturve vulnerable and unable to take advantage of his long reach.
Who Is the Tallest UFC Fighter Ever?
Stefan Struve is by far the tallest UFC fighter ever. Many people like to approximate his height to 7 ft which is close enough but his accurate height is slightly less at 6’11.8”, a mere 0.2 inches away from a full 7.
I also see people ask who was the tallest lightweight UFC. The answer to that was Corey Hill who stood at an incredible 6’4 despite being in one of the lower divisions.
How Tall Is Mighty Mouse?
Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson is 5’3” and fought in the UFC flyweight division. His height was below average for his weight class. However, he had an ape index of +3.15” giving him an above average reach in his weight class.
What is a 5’8 UFC Fighters Weight?
As we’ve mentioned, both height and weight are closely related but there can be a significant difference in natural body type. Someone 5’8 would most likely be a featherweight but they may be in a higher division if they bulked up or a lower division if they were lean.
Due to this, you can have instances where 5’7 UFC fighters weight is more than average 5’11 UFC fighters, for example. It’s important to remember there will always be height differences in the same weight division.