Confused on just which weight class you are supposed to be in? Yeah trust me so is everybody else. Ibjjf weight classes can be confusing and overwhelming.
When I first got into BJJ I was totally confused to.
Ever since I first saw the Gracies take down opponents twice their size to the mat in the early 90s, I was hooked to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
It became our preferred martial art, (even more than Taekwondo or Karate) as I spent the next six years honing those chokes and pins. The thing with BJJ is that it has lots of applicable uses in today’s world where as the other martial arts just really do not.
As I have figured over the number of years of competing in all different weight classes and age divisions of BJJ, is that this martial arts takes true dedication and discipline to become a master of the art and come out on top. Jiu Jitsu is one mean sport that teaches you how to not only really defend yourself but also how to take down your opponent and play offense.
But when I first set out to compete in the IBJJF competitions, I discovered that there were a whole bunch of weight classes, which were very different from other sports.
For starters, there was GI vs. No GI. Then there were adult and master weight classes for men.
There were separate weight classes for females. Oh wait, there is also a different one altogether for juveniles.
I was so confused on not only what weight division would be best to compete in but which was I was even allowed to compete in!
It’s no wonder then that most first timers to IBJJF competitions find themselves at their wits end trying to figure out which weight class they would be eligible to compete in.
If you have found yourself trying to figure out the IBJJF weight class puzzle, then here’s a brief primer that will help you understand the different weight classes once and for all.
Before Weighing In
Before I get to the weight classes, there are two types of competitions that you can participate in.
Wearing a GI
There’s GI, where you will be fighting with the BJJ GI (uniform).
In this category, you should be wearing the GI for the weigh in. Just like all competitive BJJ bouts, you only get one shot at the weigh in.
If you don’t make your weight class, you get disqualified. No refunds. No second chances.
You cannot change divisions either.
Not Wearing a GI
Then there’s ‘No GI’ in which you fight without a GI. In this category, you do not wear the GI for the weigh in. The same rules as mentioned above apply for this one as well.
Adults and Masters IBJJF Weight Classes
Below you will find the weight class for the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. These classes are accurate for the year 2019-2021. Find Male, female, and juvenile weight divisions below.
Adult and Masters IBJJF Male Weight Classes
There are 9 weight classes for males looking to participate in the adult and master divisions.
- Rooster weight class is under 57.5 kg or 126.5 lbs
- Light feather weight class is above 57.5 kg and under 64 kg or 141 lbs
- Feather weight is above 64kg and under 70 kg or 154 lbs
- Middle weight is above 70kg and under 82.3 kg or 181 lbs
- Medium Heavy weight is above 82.3 kg and under 88.3 kg or 194.5 lbs
- Heavy weight is above 88.3 kg and under 94.3 kg or 207.5 lbs
- Super Heavy is under 100.5 kg or 221 lbs
- Ultra Heavy is anything above 100.5 kg with no upper limit
- Open class in which you can compete against any fighter who is middle weight and up
Adult and Masters IBJJF Female Weight Classes
In comparison to the male weight classes, there are just 6 weight classes for females in IBJJF tournaments.
- Light Feather class is the lightest female weight division and it is weighed in at under 53.5 kg or 118 lbs.
- Followed by the Feather weight class, above 53.5 and under 58.5 kg
- Light weight Class has a max of 64 kg or 141 lbs
- Middle weight has a max of 69 kg or 152 lbs
- Medium Heavy has a max of 74 kg or 163 lbs
- Whereas there’s no upper limit in the heavy weight class which is anything above 74 kg
Juvenile IBJJF Weight Classes
Below are the weight classes for the Juvenile age divisions. These are set by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation for 2019-2021. These are subject to change after 2021.
Juvenile IBJJF Boys Weight Classes
In the Juvenile division for men, there are the same 9 weight classes as in adults and masters. But with reduced weight limits.
- The Rooster weight class is under 53.5 kg or 118 lbs.
- The light feather weight class is above 53.5 and under 58 kg or 129 lbs.
- Feather weight is above 58kg and under 64 kg or 141 lbs.
- Middle weight is above 64kg and under 69 kg or 152 lbs.
- Medium Heavy weight is above 69 kg and under 79.3 kg or 174.5 lbs.
- Heavy weight is above 79.3 kg and under 84.3 kg or 185.5 lbs.
- Super Heavy is above 84.3 kg under 89.5 kg or 196 lbs.
Athletes who are middle weight and above, can also choose to compete in the open division.
Juvenile IBJJF Girls Weight Classes
The Juvenile division for females has the same six weight categories as for adults and masters, but with reduced weight limits.
- Light Feather class is the lightest and it is weighed in at under 48.3 kg or 106.5 lbs.
- Feather weight class which maxes out at 52.5 kg or 116 lbs.
- Light weight has a max of 56.5 kg or 125 lbs.
- Middle weight has a max of 60.5 kg or 133.5 lbs.
- Medium Heavy has a max of 65 kg or 144 lbs.
- Whereas there’s no upper limit in the heavy weight class which is anything above 65 kg.
IBJJF Age Divisions
While there is no maximum age limit for participating in the adult and Masters division, which has started to open up a whole raging debate on messaging boards these days, there is definitely a minimum age limit.
- Juvenile I, the minimum age limit is 16 while the max is 17.
- Juvenile II, it is 17 with 18 being the maximum age after which you can only participate in the adult division.
- Adults, the minimum age is 18 and there is no maximum age.
Masters Age Division Sub Categories
In the Masters age division, there are different sub age categories:
- Master 1 – which is from 30-35 years.
- Master 2 – which is from 36 to 40.
- Master 3 – which is 41 to 45.
- Master 4 – which is 46 to 50.
- Master 5 – which is 51 to 55.
- Master 6 – which is 56 to 60.
Technically, even if you are 45, you can still choose to participate in the Adults weight class rather than fighting someone in the Masters division, which has its own share of pros and cons.
You can for example, compete against much younger, agile fighters which can be physically intimidating to some. But the caveat is that if you fight in the Masters, you might end up fighting someone with years of competitive experience.
Adrenaline and Testosterone vs. Real life, on-the-mat experience!
Which one do you select? That’s the beauty of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
It’s hardcore self-defense.
Selecting The Best IBJJF Weight Class - FAQ's
How Much Does a BJJ GI Weigh?
IF weight classes are separated by GI and no Gi then one thing that you might be wondering is just how much your BJJ Gi weighs.. Well this is a good question and this is something that you really should know if you do compete.
Most BJJ Gi’s weigh in at around 4-5 pounds. The best BJJ GI’s will typically be in the 4 pound range as they are built for both practice and competition.
Should I Compete in GI or no GI Class?
Now here’s the thing, if you are a beginner you should be training with both a GI and with no GI. Do not limit yourself to one or the other. You want to get as much experience as you possibly can while wearing one and not wearing one.
But if your goal is to compete and make it to the top levels then my suggestion is to most definitely train more often wearing your GI.
The reason being is that the top level guys and masters classes often only compete wearing a GI.
Should I Cut Weight To Get In a Lower Weight Class?
Many first timers and even top professionals come across this thought often in their BJJ careers. Will cutting weight to make a lower weight class help you prevail and beat your opponents in competitions?
Yes, it will. Lighter weight classes are indeed going to be less challenging than heavier weight classes and this is just fact. But here’s what you need to think about first.. IF you cut the weight will you be able to do it while still maintaining your strength and stamina or will cutting weight cause you to weaken up and not be able to compete?
Lots of fighters try and cut too much weight so that they can dominate the lower weight classes.. And honestly, this is smart. I’ve done it many times and I recommend you do the same thing.
Just be careful to not cut too much weight and end up causing yourself to be less competent than you were at a heavier weight class