UFC Octagon Size: How Big is The UFC Octagon

ufc octagon size

One of the most unique aspects of the UFC is the octagon in which it is fought. It has become a key part of the organization’s branding, so it’s no surprise that you have plenty of questions about it.

One of the most common questions is just how big is the UFC octagon? Here we’ll answer that question along with any other queries you may have, such as why the UFC uses an octagon, whether or not there are different sizes, and how the size affects fights.

All you need to do is read on to find out more!

What Size is a Standard UFC Octagon?

Before we look at the exact measurements of how big is UFC octagon, let’s look at exactly what an octagon is. An octagon is any shape that has eight equal sizes. Due to this, it can be hard to get across just how big the UFC ring dimensions are, especially compared to a much more standard boxing ring.

However, here are the standard dimensions for a UFC octagon. For reference, the diameter is the distance from one side of the octagon to the other.

Internal Diameter: 30 feet (9.14 meters)

External Diameter: 38 feet (11.5 meters)

Area: 746 square feet

Fence Height: 5 feet, 9 inches (1.8 meters)

Canvas height: 4 feet (1.2 meters)

For some events, a smaller octagon can be used. Here are the measurements:

Internal Diameter: 25 feet (7.6 meters)

External Diameter: 33 feet (10 meters)

Area: 518 square feet

Fence Height: 5 feet, 9 inches (1.8 meters)

Canvas height: 4 feet (1.2 meters)

As you can see, the internal area of a UFC octagon is quite large, giving fighters plenty of space to practice their craft. In fact, you may be surprised to know that the area is much bigger than most boxing rings.

There is no standard size for boxing, but the most commonly used measurement is a ‘ring’ that has 20 feet long sides. This adds up to a total area of 400 square feet which, as you can see, is less than even the smaller UFC cage.

Why Does UFC Use an Octagon?

There are many reasons why the UFC uses an octagon for its bouts. The original idea for MMA was to find a way to keep the fighters ‘trapped’ inside the fighting arena, as opposed to fighting in a classic boxing ring.

This was after the inventors were shown a Vale Tudo bout where fighters would escape through the ropes to reenter the ring. They wanted to stop this from happening and came up with the idea for an octagon.

While that was the origin of the octagon, why it’s still used today includes a few more reasons.

Safety – For such a brutal sport, the shape of a UFC octagon is perfect for keeping everyone in there safe. If they used a square, for example, then those tight corners could increase the chance of injury, and a circular cage would be impractical.

The cage is made of steel mesh with any potential sharp points covered in padding. Along with the shape, they also utilize a padded floor and a high fence to ensure a safe space for fighters to perform.

Viewing Angles – There is no doubt that the octagon also looks great on TV. It allows you to see the action from multiple angles, and you never feel as though you’re being blocked from the action. The internal area is also vast to showcase the action.

Unique – It’s important for the UFC to be different from boxing. We see this in the way that they make fights, how they market themselves, and also how they present the action. If they continued to use a boxing ring, then it would have been harder to separate themselves.

Brand Identity – The octagon cage has become synonymous with the UFC. As soon as you see it, you know you’re watching a UFC event. If they ever switched to another form of fighting surface, it would feel very odd.

Are There Different Octagon Sizes In UFC?

As you can see above, there are two main sizes that the UFC uses for their octagon. There are no set rules on when each size would be used, but it’s clear that the UFC tries to use the bigger octagon wherever they can.

That’s because it’s thought that it looks better on the broadcast. The larger area allows for less restricted views and more area for the cameramen to work. The feeling is that the smaller areas can feel a little cramped.

Usually, the UFC will only use the smaller option when they are forced to do so by the size of the arena where the fights are taking place. However, there are certain events where the smaller arena has become commonplace.

Does The Size of The UFC Octagon Matter?

Yes, it does! UFC President tried to claim that a smaller cage meaning more action was an “illusion,” but the stats would suggest otherwise. It does seem like you get more fighter engagement when they are placed in a smaller octagon.

The finish rate in a standard octagon is around 43.9%, which doesn’t seem that bad. However, that jumps up to 56.3% in the smaller arena. Unsurprisingly, the fights tend to be quicker too.

An older study showed that fights in a full-sized octagon lasted on average for 651 seconds, while in the smaller octagon, they lasted for 593. It’s a clear indicator that the size does matter, which is why many fans prefer the smaller octagon. However, fighters usually prefer a larger area.

UFC Octagon Size – FAQs

What Size Is the UFC Apex Octagon?

The UFC Apex series has become known for using the smaller MMA octagon cage, with it being 25 feet in diameter. This became the venue of choice during the Covid pandemic due to its close proximity to the UFC Performance Institute, but it is still commonly used today.

Why Is the UFC Octagon Smaller Now?

The standard UFC octagon has remained the same size for many years now. However, with the prominence of UFC Apex in recent years, it led many to believe that the UFC octagon has been permanently made smaller. However, there are no plans from the UFC to permanently move to a smaller cage.

How Tall Is the UFC Cage?

The octagon fighting ring must feel intimidating when you’re in it, and that’s partially down to the large fences they have. Those fences are 5 feet, 9 inches (1.8 meters) in height. While quite big, they aren’t tall enough for UFC fighters not to scale them after bouts, as Khabib famously did after beating Conor McGregor!

What Is the UFC Octagon Floor Made Of?

The UFC octagon floor is mainly composed of three materials which is a wooden base, canvas, and foam. That wooden base is usually made of plywood. While providing a solid surface, it does have a little bit of give.

The UFC octagon canvas is made of heavy cotton, and there is also usually a very thin layer of foam to go with it. The surface is still fairly stiff to walk on but is easier a little easier on the body for takedowns. 

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Kenny Jarvis
Kenny Jarvis
I have been practicing and studying boxing since I was a teenager. I am passionate about the sport, along with many other martial arts. While my fighting days may be over, I love channeling my passion into my writing to provide insightful blogs.