Size matters, in sports at least. Whether it’s the NBA, NFL or the UFC, an athlete’s physical attributes contribute a lot to their performance. In basketball, tall folks with long arms like Anthony Davis are highly sought after.
Although the UFC doesn’t have a draft like other sports do, a fighter’s size can affect their performance as well. Usually, it has to do with their weight class, but a fighter’s wingspan is also as critical in MMA as it’s critical in the NBA. With longer arms, fighters can have an advantage at striking and grappling when compared to others.
Measuring Ape Index on UFC fighters
Ape Index is the term that’s used to measure how long your arms are compared to your height. Measuring your Ape Index is simple, you take your wingspan and divide it by your height. Your wingspan is measured by holding both your arms out in a T-shape and measuring from fingertips to fingertips. An average person should have an Ape Index that’s about 1.0, which means that their arms are as long as they are tall.
A high Ape Index means that the person’s arms are much longer than they should be for their height. Here are 8 UFC fighters who have an Ape Index that’s much higher than normal.
8. George St. Pierre
GSP is not only one of the greatest of all times, but he’s also got some really long arms. Standing 5’11” tall with a 76″ wingspan, GSP’s Ape Index comes out to a hefty 1.07.
His long arms not only allow him to wrestle better, but it also accentuates his striking ability. With his karate background and his famous superman jab, his ability to touch and hurt people from a long distance has helped him achieve the status that he has today.
7. Conor McGregor
Blessed with a high Ape Index, McGregor’s been able to strategically and surgically maintain his distance and land knockout punches from afar. At 5’9″ tall and with a 74″ wingspan, Conor has an incredible reach advantage in the featherweight and lightweight divisions.
His Ape Index comes out to 1.072, slightly higher than GSP’s. In addition to that, former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley also has the same height, reach, and Ape Index as Conor. Both men have been able to use their long arms to knock people out in spectacular fashion.
6. Kennedy Nzechukwu
This relatively unknown newcomer to the UFC recently won his last fight because his opponent lost two points for repeatedly kicking him in the groin. However, Kennedy also boasts some long arms, as his 6’5″ frame and 83″ wingspan gives him an Ape Index of 1.078. Be on the lookout for this up and comer in the future.
5. Aleksei Oleinik
Most people on this list are great strikers thanks to their arms, but Oleinik puts his lengthy arms to good use with his grappling. A submission artist, Oleinik has submitted 47 people in his long career.
At 6’2″ tall and with 80″ arms, Oleinik’s 1.081 Ape Index lets him live up to his nickname of “The Boa Constrictor” as he’s able to easily wrap his arms around the necks of almost anyone.
4. Francis Ngannou
One of the UFC’s most exciting knockout artists, Francis Ngannou has knocked out his last three opponents in less than three minutes combined. His knockout power comes from both his strength, skill, and his naturally long arms. At 6’4″ and with a wingspan of 83″, Ngannou has a monstrous Ape Index of 1.092.
3. Jon Jones
Another greatest of all time, Jon Jones technically has the longest arms in the UFC with a wingspan of 84.5″. However, he doesn’t have the highest Ape Index in the UFC.
Like other fighters on this list, Jon’s long arms has allowed him to strike from long range but it’s also allowed him to more easily choke out his opponents. At 6’4″ tall, Jon’s Ape Index comes out to a staggering 1.112.
2. Kevin Lee
The UFC fighter with the second-highest Ape Index is Kevin Lee, a lightweight and welterweight contender. At 5’9″ tall, he’s the same height as Conor McGregor but with even longer arms.
His wingspan is a ridiculous 77″, giving him an Ape Index of 1.116. Although Lee is a top-level fighter, he hasn’t accomplished as much as the others on this list.
1. Sergei Pavlovich
The man with the highest Ape Index in the UFC is Sergei Pavlovich, a Russian heavyweight who joined the UFC last year. Like Kevin Lee, Pavlovich hasn’t won any titles, but he’s knocked out many men with the help of his freakishly long arms.
With a wingspan of 84″, his arms are slightly shorter than Jones’s, but Sergei is 6’3″, an inch shorter than Jones, and that bumps up his Ape Index. Sergei’s Ape Index is an amazing 1.12, which is just crazy compared to the average person.
Let’s put this in perspective
If you’re curious about how long an actual ape’s arms are, a gorilla’s arms can be between 91″ and 102″ long. The average gorilla is between 5’7″ and 6′ tall, so an ape’s Ape Index could range between 1.358 to 1.417. While these UFC fighters aren’t close to having actual ape arms, they’re still long enough to be ape-like at least.