UFC Rules

If you are a fan of the UFC, then you will know how much effort the UFC has put into its social media pages. They have over 3.1 million followers on Instagram and over 3.2 million on Twitter.

If you want to learn more about the UFC or want to know their rules, then this blog is for you.

UFC rules are quite complex, and this can be intimidating for newcomers. However, it’s important to know the basics of these rules if you want to enjoy watching a fight or even become a UFC fighter yourself.

In this article, we will discuss all the major UFC rules in detail so that you feel comfortable watching or attending your first UFC event.

General UFC Rules You Should Know

There are a lot of rules, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. But you should also know that each rule has been carefully crafted for a reason: to ensure safety, fairness, and entertainment for everyone involved in an MMA fight.

The most important thing to remember about UFC rules is that they’re designed to protect fighters from injury while allowing them to put on an exciting show for fans at home or live events like UFC 229: Khabib vs McGregor 2 in Las Vegas on October 6th, 2018. Here are the primary UFC rules,

Rounds and Duration

UFC fights are divided into rounds, with each round lasting 5 minutes. There is a 1 minute rest period between rounds, but if the fight hasn’t been stopped before then, it will continue into the next round. There are 3 to 5 rounds in a UFC Fight, and the fight duration could be 17-29 minutes.

If a fighter is in danger during a round whether because of strikes or submission attempts, the referee can stop the fight and award them victory or let them continue fighting if they agree to do so.

Different Weight Classes

Weight classes are the different divisions in that a fighter can compete. The UFC has 14 weight classes (8 for Men & 6 for Women), ranging from strawweight (115 lbs) to heavyweight (265 lbs).

These categories are divided into smaller groups with minimum and maximum weight limits. For example, women’s flyweight has a minimum limit of 125 lbs, while men’s light heavyweight has a maximum limit of 205 lbs.

Weight Class Maximum Weight
Strawweight 115 lbs (52.2 kg)
Flyweight 125 lbs (56.7 kg)
Bantamweight 135 lbs (61.2 kg)
Featherweight 145 lbs (65.8 kg)
Lightweight 155 lbs (70.3 kg)
Super Lightweight 165 lbs (74.8 kg)
Welterweight 170 lbs (77.1 kg)
Super Welterweight 175 lbs (79.4 kg)
Middleweight 185 lbs (83.9 kg)
Super Middleweight 195 lbs (88.5 kg)
Light Heavyweight 205 lbs (93 kg)
Cruiserweight 225 lbs (102.1 kg)
Heavyweight 265 lbs (120.2 kg)
Super Heavyweight None

Octagon and Its Dimensions

There are two types of UFC octagon, Standard & Smaller. The standard Octagon dimension is 30 feet, and the smaller one is 25 feet.

Octagon Type Size (Diameter)
Standard 30 ft (9.1 m)
Smaller 25 ft (7.62 m)

It has 8 panels of chain-link fencing that are covered by black vinyl. The floor of the Octagon is made up of vinyl mats that help absorb impact from kicks, punches, and takedowns.

The Octagon was first introduced into UFC competition at UFC 1 on November 12th, 1993, in Denver, Colorado. Royce Gracie became famous after winning three fights in one night while losing only one out of five total rounds per fight.

Illegal Moves and Fouls

Here are some of the illegal moves and fouls:

  • Eye gouging
  • No manipulation of a tiny joint is allowed
  • Biting
  • No vulgar talk is permitted
  • Hair pulling, fish hooking, small joint manipulation, and/or twisting fingers (e.g., wrist locks) that cause excessive or unjustifiable pain or injury to an opponent
  • Groin strikes
  • Pushing an opponent’s face into the Ground
  • An opponent cannot be thrown out of the Cage

Fighters’ Kit & Equipment

Fighters are required to wear a mouthguard and groin protector, as well as fingerless gloves. The fighter’s kit must be provided by the promoter or an official supplier of the UFC, but the commission must approve it before being used in competition.

The following is an example of what is allowed:

  • Mouthguard (with strap) – Any brand that meets ASTM F1487-15 standard approved by your local governing body may be used in competition. If you do not have a custom-fitted mouthpiece, please consult your dentist or physician before purchasing one.
  • Groin Protector – The groin protector should cover all areas from just above the testicles down to where your thigh meets your abdomen on both sides of your body; similar coverage is required for female athletes competing at international events under AIBA rules.
  • Fingerless Gloves – These gloves should not exceed four inches from tip to cuff when measured across their widest point (not including Velcro straps).

UFC Fight Scoring Rules

Before you watch a UFC fight, you must know how the scoring system works. Points are awarded for clean and effective striking, while fouls will result in points being deducted. Here are the most Scoring rules that have been discussed.

The referee can also give warnings for illegal moves or stalls. For example, punches to the back of the head or spine are illegal and will result in deductions from your scorecard if used against an opponent grounded on his/her back (the position where one’s face is touching the mat).

In addition to clean strikes that land on target with force behind them, there are other ways to earn points:

  • Strikes that land anywhere below waist level count as body kicks; these can be done with either hand but must be performed without stepping into range first–you must be standing still before throwing them! Suppose both fighters throw body kicks at roughly equal frequency throughout each round. In that case, neither will gain many advantages because they’ll cancel out some hits while landing others…

Point System

Three judges score each round individually and give points to both fighters. In every round, it consists of 10 points. Judges can give 8 to 10 points to the winner of each round based on the fighter’s performance.

The UFC uses a point system to score fights. The point system is as follows:

  1. Punches and kicks that landed on the head or body are worth 1 point.
  2. Punches and kicks that landed on the legs are worth 2 points.
  3. Takedowns are worth 3 points.
  4. Submissions are worth 4 points.
  5. Reversals are worth 5 points.
  6. Knockouts are worth 6 points.
  7. Disqualifications are worth 7 points.

The point system is used to determine the winner of a fight. The winner is the fighter with the most points at the end.

If both fighters have equal total points after five rounds, it goes into sudden death over time, where one final 30-second round takes place with only one minute rest period between rounds.

Winning By Knockout

A knockout (KO) is one where a fighter cannot continue fighting. Various factors, such as punches, can cause it, or kicks to the head, strikes that cause trauma to the brainstem, or damage to other vital areas of the body that make it impossible for the fighter to defend himself intelligently.

The referee will stop the fight and declare the winner if they feel that one fighter has lost too much blood or cannot intelligently defend himself against his opponent’s attack.


The UFC does not allow any fighter not medically cleared to compete in an event. If a fighter fails to make weight or notifies the UFC that he/she cannot continue the fight due to injury, he/she will be declared a Forfeit. The fighter’s purse is forfeited, and the bout is ruled a no-contest.

No Contest

No contest can happen for two reasons, which are,

  • No Contest: A fight that is stopped due to an accidental or intentional foul or an injury sustained by either fighter.
  • Technical Decision: A fight that is stopped due to an accidental injury but cannot be resumed within the time allowed by the rules, or if one fighter gains an advantage in a round and it’s impossible for his opponent to recover sufficiently enough within the remaining time limit for that round. This applies if one fighter dominates throughout all three rounds but cannot finish his opponent before time runs out (not including extra rounds).

Winning By Submission

Submission is the most common way to win a fight, so you must understand how it works.

Submission occurs when one fighter taps out or verbally submits. Tapping out means tapping your opponent on the leg or arm with one hand repeatedly until they let go of their hold on you, whereas verbally submitting involves saying “I give up” or some other similar phrase while still being held down by another person’s submission hold.

In both cases, once someone has tapped out or verbally submitted, they have lost their match and, therefore, must forfeit their title (if applicable).

Winning By Judge’s Decision

The rules are designed to promote the athletes’ safety and ensure that the bout is fair. There are three ways to win a bout under the Unified Rules: knockout, submission, or the judge’s decision. A bout can also end in a draw.

If a bout goes the distance, the judges will score the bout and award a decision. The judges will score the bout based on several factors, including:

  • Effective striking
  • Effective grappling
  • Control of the bout
  • Aggressiveness
  • Accuracy

The fighter with the most points at the end of the bout will be declared the winner by the judge’s decision.

A winner is declared when two judges score the fight in favor of one fighter or if one has won every round by getting 10-8 points from all three judges (this rarely happens).


A fighter can be disqualified for several reasons. Perhaps the most common is when a fighter deliberately breaks one of the rules, such as intentionally hitting an opponent after the bell or refusing to engage in combat with an opponent knocked down.

When this happens, they’ll see their name go red on your screen and then be escorted out of the arena by security guards.

The referee will declare them disqualified and award any winnings from the fight to their opponent (if applicable).

If no winners were declared before disqualification occurred, both fighters would walk away with nothing more than some bruises and maybe a sore jaw for their trouble.

Although there may still be some fines against them if they were found guilty of breaking any rules before getting tossed out there.

UFC Advanced Rules

Advanced rules are also used in UFC fights. These rules include the following:

Clinching and Grappling Techniques

In MMA, a clinch is a position where two fighters are in close proximity, and both are trying to gain control of each other. The clinch can be used to strike the opponent or to take the fight to the Ground.

Clinching is any method a fighter uses to hold his opponent to impede his movement and prevent him from striking. Clinching includes holding onto an opponent’s neck with both hands, placing one hand over your opponent’s mouth, grabbing onto his trunks or shorts with both hands.


If a fighter can take his/her opponent to the mat or floor is called Ground. And while your opponent is downed and you punch him/her is called Pound. Ground-and-pound is a powerful technique that allows fighters to use their body weight to land punches on the opponent.

The fighter on top can use their arms to defend themselves, but they can also use their body weight. In addition, many different types of ground-and-pound techniques make it difficult for an opponent to escape or counterattack.

There are some exceptions: if a fighter has good stamina, then they may be able to wear down their opponent by repeatedly landing punches from above without getting tired themselves; in other words, this strategy makes sense if you’re strong enough.


Takedowns are a way to bring the fight to the Ground. There are two types of takedowns: single-leg and double-leg. A single-leg takedown is easier but less effective, while a double-leg takedown is more effective but harder to execute.

The fighter on top has the advantage because he can strike any time. At the same time, his opponent must defend himself against those attacks while trying to get back up or regain guard position (if he could successfully defend against being taken down).

Weight Cutting

Weight cutting is the process of losing weight before a fight. The goal is to make your body as light as possible without sacrificing strength or endurance. Weight cutting can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Still, it’s an essential part of MMA competition because it allows fighters to compete at their optimal weight class, where they’ll have an advantage over their opponent.

If you want to cut weight safely, there are two things you can do:

  • Eat clean foods and avoid junk food during the week leading up to your weigh-in appointment. This will help prevent excess water retention and bloating in your body when it’s time for you to step on that scale.
  • Drink lots of water throughout the day when it comes time for you (and your coach) to do some intense sweating sessions. You won’t feel dehydrated anymore.”

Match Conduct Rules

The referee will conduct the match with these basic rules at first. There are a few basic rules that must be followed during a UFC fight.

  1. First, both fighters must agree to the rules before the match can begin.
  2. Second, the match can only occur in a designated UFC fighting area, typically a ring or Cage.
  3. The referee can stop the fight if a fighter is not defending themselves or appears unable to continue competing due to an injury sustained during the competition.
  4. Third, both fighters must be wearing approved UFC gloves and clothing. Fourth, no outside interference is allowed during the match.
  5. Fifth, the match can only be ended by knockout, submission, or referee stoppage.
  6. If a fighter is injured, the fight will be stopped, and they will be given up to five minutes to recover.
  7. Finally, strict drug testing rules are in place for all UFC fighters.

These rules are in place to ensure the safety of the fighters and to provide a fair and competitive match. Violating any of these rules can result in the disqualification of a fighter.


UFC rules are complex but well worth learning. They are the foundation of a sport that has become one of the most popular worldwide. UFC rules state that you must be a fan of the UFC to enjoy watching their events.

With so many great MMA bouts each year, it is easy to become a fan of the UFC. If you cannot watch all of their events but enjoy some, you should be content with your fandom.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.