A Man’s Sport: Complete Layman’s Guide To Being A Casual UFC Fan

Just bleed UFC guy

You are here so that means you are likely new to MMA and you are wondering why that guy on Twitter just called you a UFC casual. Look no further. I dare say you’d be able to rub shoulders with MMA enthusiasts by the end of this guide.

Mixed Martial Arts has seen huge growth from the days when it was a niche sport. It is quickly becoming popular in countries where it was mostly unheard of. MMA is fast-growing in Africa, thanks to the heroics of Israel Adesanya, Usman Kamaru, and Francis Ngannou in the UFC. The creation of the performance institutes in China and Mexico has also seen a huge growth in the sport in those regions.

UFC Africa Israel Adesanya Usman Kamaru Francis Ngannou

In fact, of the eight biggest pay-per-views of all time, two of them involved UFC fighters. This is huge growth and it doesn’t look to be reducing anytime soon. And with the new eyeballs come many people who want to understand the sport better. The gritty and violent sport is even more beautiful when combined with great technique.

What Is MMA?

Simply put, MMA is a full-contact combat sport that incorporates striking, grappling, and ground fighting. Fighters combine boxing, wrestling, jujutsu, and other martial arts to defeat their opponents.

Max Holloway and Alex Volkanovski

It is easy to write it off as violent prison-style no-holds-barred fights. Early promoters sold MMA bouts as competitions to find the best martial arts for unarmed combat. This caused an evolution as fighters that had a boxing base had to learn jujutsu to counter the Brazilian wave. Then jujutsu fighters had to learn wrestling when it seemed obvious that it was a great addition. Then came pressure from the governments of several countries for the sport to be safer.

This caused promoters to put in place rules to increase the safety of the competitors. For example, fighters can not poke their opponents’ eyes, or kick them in the groin. Since the changes got implemented, the popularity of the sport has increased enough to rival boxing.

What Is The Difference Between MMA and UFC?

An introduction to MMA is impossible without differentiating MMA and the UFC. MMA is the sport, UFC is one of the organizations where the sport takes place. There are other MMA organizations like Bellator, PFL, One Championship, and in Nigeria, the AKO show. So basically, MMA is like football and the UFC is the Premier League.

The UFC may be less than thirty years old but the company has grown in value and history. In a 2020 interview, Dana White said the company was now worth a massive 9-10 billion dollars. Those thirty years have brought a plethora of memories. How do you even begin to break them down?

Do we start from The Ultimate Fighter and the many fighters that went on to become champions from the reality show? Or do we talk about Anderson Silva’s record-breaking streak as the 185-pound champ and eventual defeat? Or do we talk about Conor McGregor‘s fast-talking streak to becoming double-champ? Or do we talk about the bad blood between him and Khabib Nurmagomedov that culminated in the biggest UFC PPV of all time? It is a lot of history and you would have a wonderful journey experiencing everything right now.

What Does Casual Mean?

As mentioned earlier, MMA is slowly becoming a mainstream sport. And there are three major kinds of fans. The hardcore fans, the MMA enthusiasts, and the casuals. Hardcore fans are MMA enthusiasts who are knowledgeable about the sport’s history and evolution. They do not rely solely on the UFC for their MMA needs. These types of fans sometimes become MMA content writers.

Bandwagon fans are those who are just there for the ride. They know popular fighters and desert them after a loss. Another way to recognize them is that they never have an informed opinion and have to consult Google on everything. People like that are quick to tell you Amanda Nunes lost to Cat Zingano when you say she is the greatest female fighter of all time.

Casuals are new fans of the sport who are only intrigued by the flashy side of things. A casual would say Israel Adesanya was a bum following his loss to Jan Blachowicz. A casual may say BKFC is MMA. With casuals, you never really know. But there is nothing wrong with being a casual fan. Most hardcore fans started that way and built their way up. The fact that you are still reading this means that you want to learn more about the sport.

What Are The UFC Weight Classes?

One of the ways to know casuals is that they think the only two weight classes are heavyweight and lightweight. Sorry to burst your bubble but there are eight classes for men and four for women. The weight classes exist to level the playing field so fighters can fight people around their weights.

All the divisions have an upper limit that must championship fighters must meet. There is a one-pound leniency for non-title fighters. If a fighter weighs in above the upper limit for a title fight, they won’t be eligible for the belt even if they win. They also lose 20% of their fight purse to their opponent.

The eight male divisions are heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, featherweight, bantamweight, and flyweight. For women, the divisions are strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight.

Who Are The UFC Champions?

All the UFC divisions have champions ruling them with a gold fist. Here they are:
Heavyweight: Francis Ngannou.
Light Heavyweight: Glover Teixeira.
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya.
Welterweight: Kamaru Usman.
Lightweight: Charles Oliveira.
Featherweight: Alexander Volkanovski.
Bantamweight: Aljamain Sterling.
Flyweight: Brandon Moreno.

Featherweight: Amanda Nunes.
Bantamweight: Amanda Nunes
Flyweight: Valentina Shevchenko.
Strawweight: Rose Namajunas.

What Is The UFC Pound-For-Pound Ranking?

The UFC P4P ranking is a ranking system to determine the best fighters in the world regardless of division. That is why the rankings include people who are unlikely to ever fight one another. According to the UFC website, a voting panel made up of MMA media members generates the rankings. Their votes are averaged, and the rankings are determined weekly. UFC rankings are predominantly based on past and current fighter results.

UFC In Nigeria

Following the systematic beating of Tyron Woodley by Usman in 2019 to win the UFC belt, the sport has increased in popularity in the country. One month later, Adesanya defeated Gastelum in their fight of the year bout to win the interim belt. Now, there are three African champions in the UFC and two of them are Nigerian. With the signing of Chidi Njoukani on the Dana White Contender series, there are now six Nigerians on the UFC roster. It is no surprise that Nigerians are awake at 4 am when Adesanya and Usman have fights.

chidi Njokuani
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 07: (R-L) Chidi Njokuani punches Mario Sousa in a middleweight fight during Dana White’s Contender Series season five week two at UFC APEX on September 07, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

It is also not surprising that the following of the sport in the country has since increased. People have started training in MMA gyms that sprung up in different parts of Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt. MMA promotions have also started putting up shows in the major cities.

How To Watch UFC Events In Nigeria

Before now, it was almost impossible to watch UFC events legally in Nigeria. Thanks to the partnership of DSTV with UFC in 2018, UFC lovers can now watch live events on channel 210. This is just as good as watching on UFC Fight Pass.

What Next For You?

At this point, you are ready to venture into the world of MMA. There is no better time to be a fan of the sport. We have Israel Adesanya and Kamaru Usman dominating the Middleweight and Welterweight respectively.

All that is left for you is to look forward to UFC schedules and enjoy the weekly fights. If you like the sweet science, boxing-based fighters like Max Holloway, Petr Yan, and Dustin Poirier would excite you. If you prefer grappling, Islam Makachev and Glover Teixeira have got you covered. Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington are about to have a rematch after they blew the roof off the T-Mobile arena in 2019. The rematch has the makings of another classic.

The sport has many factors that draw people in and like the fighters, MMA fans too find their own connection. So find yours and enjoy the hostilities, my friends!

Share This Post

Did you enjoy reading this article on MMA Planet? Please don’t hesitate to share on social media.

About Ojabowale Afolabi

Ojabowale Afolabi is a content marketing strategist at a leading logistics firm. When I am not creating marketing strategies, I contribute to MMA Planet's Casual corner. If you have any questions about MMA, don't hesitate to reach out on learning(@)mmaplanet.com.ng.

View all posts by Ojabowale Afolabi →

4 Comments on “A Man’s Sport: Complete Layman’s Guide To Being A Casual UFC Fan”

  1. Thank you for another informative website. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal way? I’ve a project that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been on the look out for such info.

Leave a Reply