Skip to Content

Why Does MMA Use An Octagon? Quick Answer

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

The UFC octagon is often loosely referred to simply as “the cage” by many MMA fans. The only MMA promotion that uses the octagon is the UFC. The rest of the MMA organizations do not use the octagon in their events. In the following, you will quickly learn everything you need to know about the octagon.

The UFC Octagon Is Trademarked

The name “Octagon” is intellectual property that is owned by the UFC. Therefore, no other MMA promotion can set up a fighting cage to the exact same specification as the UFC Octagon, nor can any other MMA promotion refer to their cage as the “Octagon.”

The octagonal competition mat and fenced-in design are registered trademarks and/or trade dress of Zuffa, LLC and are symbolic of the highest quality mixed martial arts events presented under the UFC® brand name.

Why Does UFC use an octagon?

According to the UFC, the UFC octagon was created primarily for safety. The Octagon has an eight-sided fence wall that surrounds the padded canvas to protect fighters from falling out during a fight, unlike in a traditional ring where fighters can fall out between the ropes and cause injuries.

Photo Credit:

On the UFC website, the UFC further explains why they use Octagon than the ring:

A robust plastic-coated fence eliminates the chance of athletes tumbling out of the Octagon, as they can in a traditional ring during boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai bouts. This is unique in combat sports, as it eliminates the advantage of competitors who are well-versed in the art of “cutting off the ring” as a boxer or kickboxer may do. There are many examples of MMA athletes competing in other organizations falling from a traditional ring during competition, often resulting in unnecessary injuries.
When Did UFC Start? UFC Ultimate History Explained

The Different Octagon Sizes in UFC

Currently, there are two sizes of octagons that have been used by UFC, and here are some details of the two octagons.

Full SizeSmaller Size
Exterior Diameter: 38 feet (11.5m)Exterior Diameter: Not Specified
Height from Canvas to Top of Fence: 5 feet, 9 inches (1.8m)Height from Canvas to Top of Fence: 5 feet, 9 inches (1.8m)
Interior Diameter: (Fighting Space) 30 feet across (9.1m)Interior Diameter: (Fighting Space) 25 feet across (7.62m)
Interior Area: ~ 746 ft2Interior Area: ~ 518 ft2
Canvas: Textured and hand-painted; used only once for each eventCanvas: Textured and hand-painted; used only once for each event
Source: &

Does the size of the octagon affect the outcome of the fight?

According to the analysis done by, the smaller size of the octagon has a 55% finishing rate compared to the 48% finishing rate in the full-sized octagon. This is due to the belief that fighters have less space to maneuver around in the smaller octagon, which forces them to face each other more and fight.