The UFC has welcomed France's decision to legalise mixed martial arts in the country from next year.

Roxana Maracineanu, France's minister of sport, earlier this week officially announced applications from existing MMA companies to structure the sport in the country.

With MMA set to be a recognised sport in France at both amateur and professional level from January 1, 2020, it opens up the possibility of a UFC event being held there.

"UFC welcomes the announcement by the Ministry of Sports, which is the first step in officially recognising MMA and integrating the sport into the French sports ecosystem," Lawrence Epstein, UFC senior executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement.

"We will closely follow the progress of the consultation period and pay particular attention to the respect of the integrity of MMA and preservation of its rules by the host federation.

"We put our global MMA expertise at the disposal of the French authorities to make this process a collective construction."