BJJ Weight Classes

As you prepare for a competition one of the most common questions you will be asked is: what weight class are you competing in? BJJ weight classes are an often discussed topic that can cause some people a lot of stress

The limits for BJJ weight classes can differ depending on the promotion and the competition. In general there will be weight classes for each gender, age group, and rank. There may also be an absolute division at the end of the competition.

The IBJJF weight divisions are the most commonly used standard for BJJ competitions. However to be sure of the exact weight limit you need to check the rules or information section of each each competition.

The Weight Classes

The weight classes for BJJ competitions can differ depending on the organization that is promoting the event. However the IBJJF weight divisions are the most commonly used standard for BJJ competitions. The weight classes can be seen below and are usually stated clearly during the application process for the competition.

The weight classes are different for Male and Female and for adults and children.

Male Adult and Masters competitors

  • Rooster – 126.5 lbs (57.5 kg)
  • Light Feather – 141 lbs
  • Feather –  154 lbs (70 kg)
  • Light –  167.5 lbs (76 kg)
  • Middle – 181 lbs (82.3 kg)
  • Medium Heavy – 194.5 lbs (88.3 kg )
  • Heavy – 207.5 lbs (94.3 kg )
  • Super-Heavy – 221.0 lbs (100.5 kg)
  • Ultra Heavy – No Maximum Weight

Female Adult and Masters IBJJF  Weight Classes

  • Light Feather –  118 lbs (53.5 kg)
  • Feather – 129 lbs (58.5 kg)
  • Light –  141 lbs (64 kg)
  • Middle – 152 lbs (69 kg)
  • Medium Heavy – 163 lbs (74 kg)
  • Heavy – No Maximum Weight

Juvenile IBJJF Male Weight Classes

Below are the official IBJJF weight classes for Juvenile Male competitors.

Please note that for large competitions such as the Worlds Male Juveniles are split in Juvenile 1 (Aged 16) and Juvenile 2 (Aged 17).

  • Rooster – 118 lbs (53.5 kg)
  • Light Feather – 129 lbs (58.5 kg)
  • Feather – 141 lbs (64 kg)
  • Light –  152 lbs (69 kg)
  • Middle –  163 lbs (74 kg)
  • Medium Heavy –  174.5 lbs (79.3 kg)
  • Heavy –  185.5 lbs (84.3 kg)
  • Super-Heavy – 196.5 lbs (89.3 kg)
  • Ultra Heavy – No Maximum Weight

Juvenile IBJJF Female Weight Classes

Below are the official IBJJF weight classes for Juvenile Female competitors.

Female athletes are also divided into Juvenile 1 (Aged 16) and Juvenile 2 (Aged 17) for major comps but the weight class is the same for both.

  • Light Feather –  106.5 lbs (48.3 kg)
  • Feather –  116 lbs (52.5 kg)
  • Light –  125 lbs (56.5 kg)
  • Middle –  133.5 lbs (60.5 kg)
  • Medium Heavy –  144 lbs (65 kg)
  • Heavy – No Maximum Weight

 

Kids IBJJF Weight Classes

The weight classes for kids can be the most confusing of all. Kids are put into divisions based on their age and weight. Since the kids Gi can be quite heavy relative to their weight, there are different allowances for the type of Gi that is worn.

The kids categories for age are Might mite, Pee Wee, Junior and Teen.

Absolute Division

Most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitions will have an absolute division for one or all the belt categories on the day including masters divisions. The Absolute division is an open weight division that can be entered by any competitor that has won a medal in their own weight class. Sometimes entry is open to anyone at that particular ranking level. It is essentially a division to find out who the overall best competitor at each rank is on the day.

Since the absolute is an open weight competition it is usually dominated by bigger athletes. However there are often some fascinating matches between lighter weight competitors and heavy weights that make for great viewing.

If somebody wins gold at in the absolute weight as well as their own weight they are said to have won double gold. There is no weight in required for the absolute division and registration is usually done on the day.

 

BJJ Weight Cutting

Weight cutting is a controversial practice in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. You will get a wide range of opinions depending on who you ask about it. Most BJJ competitions require competitors to weigh in on the same day and there is often a very short period between the weigh in and the match.

Therefore cutting a significant amount of weight through dehydrating is a fairly futile practice if you want to be in any kind of decent physical condition for your match. While it may help you make it into a lower weight category, being dehydrated for your match which will negatively impact your ability to perform. Any advantage you have in weight over your prospective opponent will almost surely be negated by your reduced energy due to poor hydration.

If you do intend cutting weight for a BJJ competition it is advisable to begin the weight management process weeks before the competition. Decide which weight division is optimal for your size and strength, and put  a plan in place to ensure you will be on target weight in the days leading up to the competition.

Managing your weight and conditioning in the lead up to a BJJ competition can be difficult if you have never done it before. If unsure about how to manage you should ask your coach or strength and conditioning specialist / dietitian who will be able to advise you.

Weighing in process

In general BJJ competitions require athletes to weigh in on the day. There may be some exceptions to this rule where a promotion allows fighters to weigh in on the day before. However this practice is usually reserved for professional shows and promotions.

For the IBJJF and similar events competitors tend to weigh in around 20 minutes before their match. They only need to weigh in once on the day.

A competitor usually only has one chance to make the required weight. If they miss their intended weight they will not be given more time to make the weight.

The strictness of the weigh in process can differ greatly depending on the size of the promotion and competition. From experience there is often some leeway given to less experienced competitors at small events. However organisations like the IBJJF and UAEJJF are very strict on weight limits and make no exceptions.

 

Weigh in with Gi or without?

If you have entered a Nogi competition you will be required to weigh in wearing your rash guard and shorts that you intend on competing in.

Similarly for Gi competitions the stated weight includes the Gi and belt that you intend to wear in your match. For example if your weight class is xlbs you will need to be exactly x or under while wearing your Gi and belt if you want to be eligible to compete.

How much does a BJJ Gi weigh?

On average a BJJ Gi weighs approximately 4.2lbs (1.6kg).

However the weight of a Gi can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. For example a Tatami lightweight A2 sized Gi weighs 3.3lbs whereas some of their heavier Gi’s can weigh close to 5lbs depending on the design. It is also worth noting that the weigh in also requires you to be wearing a belt so you should factor in belt weight when choosing a division.

If you think you are going to be very close to allowed weight for you r class on the day then it is advisable to wear a lightweight Gi if you have one. Companies such as Tatami, Kingz, and Scramble all have lightweight Gi’s that are designed for competitors that may be concerned with weight limits.

 

Changing Weight Classes

Most promotions usually allow athletes to adjust or correct their entry before the event. Adjustments are usually allowed to be made at any time up to a week before the tournament. The cut-off date for entry adjustments varies from promotion to promotion.  IBJJF usually allow competitors to change their weight category up to 7 days before the start date of the competition.

Adjustments can usually be made online on the same page that you used to enter the tournament. Usually you will be given the option of adjusting your weight, age, or rank division. If you cannot adjust online then I would recommend emailing the organizers.

 

Tips for BJJ weigh In’s

  • Make sure you have a good quality calibrated scales at home as there can be large variances between some scales. Calibrate your scales at home buy putting a dumbbell or plate on it. Once you know it is accurate you can rest assured that your weight is correct
  • Don’t stress. Weight management for BJJ tournaments tends to stress people out and it can make them less likely to compete in the future. However it is one of the few things in BJJ that you have 100% control over. If competing for the first time and unsure about which weight class to choose I recommend choosing the higher class so that you can enjoy the experience without worrying about your weight.
  • Get to venue early to check your weight. If you are worried about your weight on the day then why stay at home worrying. Instead get to the venue early and check your weight. If you are on weight you can relax and support teammates or else chill until your own match.
  • Bring lots of food and water. After you check your weight you will know where you stand and be able to hydrate and eat before your match. If you are in a large division or enter the absolute there is a chance that you will have a number of matches during the day.
  • Don’t be that guy running laps in a hoody at the venue. At every large BJJ event you are likely to see somebody that looks like they are doing a very intense warm up with lots of running while wearing too much clothes. Often it is actually the case that this person is trying to sweat out the last few lbs before they weigh in.