5 MMA fighters who fought in the most weight divisions
While the sport of MMA has far less recognised weight classes than its sister sport of boxing, it’s still relatively easy – usually a matter of ten or fifteen pounds – for a fighter to move up or down from one weight division to another.
The reasons can be multiple – usually, they have something to do with a smaller fighter at one weight wanting to feel like the bigger man in a lower division or a bigger fighter in one division not wanting to cut weight anymore.
Most fighters in MMA have fought in a maximum of two weight divisions, particularly inside the UFC, but in some cases fighters have either dropped or gained weight in dramatic fashion, meaning they’ve appeared in multiple divisions. Here are five fighters who’ve appeared in the most weight divisions in MMA history.
#5 Kenny Florian – Middleweight (185lbs), Welterweight (170lbs), Lightweight (155lbs), Featherweight (145lbs)
When Kenny Florian appeared on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter as a Middleweight, it was quickly made clear that 185lbs wasn’t his optimum weight. Florian wasn’t out of shape at 185lbs, but he’d fought the majority of his pre-TUF career as a Welterweight and was painfully outsized by his castmates.
Florian made the final of the inaugural tournament but was beaten by Diego Sanchez, and from there he immediately made the drop to 170lbs. Wins over Alex Karalexis and Kit Cope followed, but when the UFC announced the reinstatement of the Lightweight class in early 2006, Florian decided to make the move there, as he was a smaller Welterweight, to begin with.
Immediate success followed – Florian choked out Sam Stout in his Lightweight debut and was awarded a shot against Sean Sherk for the vacant UFC title.
‘Ken-Flo’ lost that fight, but then went on a tear, winning six straight outings against the likes of Roger Huerta and Joe Stevenson before failing in a second title attempt against BJ Penn.
Subsequent wins over Clay Guida and Takanori Gomi put him back in line for another shot, but a loss to Gray Maynard quietened those talks and gave Florian an unfortunate ‘choker’ label by some analysts.
He still had one last title shot in him though – surprisingly at an even lower weight class, Featherweight. Florian beat Diego Nunes in his Featherweight debut but came up short in his title match with Jose Aldo before retiring.
While he never won a UFC title, he became one of the few fighters to appear in four different weight classes in the promotion.