Some might say that UFC & MMA fighters have a particular personality type to do what they do. There are not too many people who are willing to get beat up or give a beating to another human being.
Some UFC fighters personality types seem to give them the grit to enjoy doing what they do. So much so, it gives them light and purpose in life.
In this article, I will cover the personality types theory and analyze some of the biggest names in the sport. If you’d like, you can skip to the list of UFC fighters personality types.
A Quick Overview Of The 16 Personality Types
There are 16 personality types under the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) theory. This theory produces a four or five-letter acronym where each letter stands for a different kind of personality trait, e.g., “INFJ.” This helps define the tendencies for likes, dislikes, emotions, passions, social ability, and many more.
Quick Side Note: Most of this knowledge of the personality types is from the excellent resource at 16Personalities. For a complete in-depth understanding of this theory, please check them out, and credit goes to them for this fascinating research.
The 16 personality types are divided into four different role groups.
And for each role group, there are the same four different strategies:
- Confident Individualism
- People Mastery
- Constant Improvement
- Social Engagement
Roles explain the kinds of goals we set for ourselves, interests, and hobbies. Strategies explain how we prefer to get things done and achieve our goals. And for each role group, there are the same four different strategies:
And how we end up becoming defined under any of the 16 personality types depends on where we land on the scales of five personality Aspects. Our unique combination of these Aspects is what determines the personality type.
For example, an ENTP is the Debater in the Analysts Role group.
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These are the five personality Aspects that add up to become your personality type:
- Introverted vs Extroverted
- Inuitive vs Observant
- Thinking vs Feeling
- Judging vs Prospecting
- Assertive vs Turbulent*
*The final Aspect creates the five-letter personality type acronym. This expands the original Myers-Briggs theory, which is a four-letter definition. Every personality Role can be Assertive or Turbulent. E.g. INTP-A and INTP-T, or ESTJ-A and ESTJ-T.
After a personality test, every one of us falls somewhere on the scale between these Aspects. These together define a clear personality type acronym for each person.
Analysts Personality Role
The Analysts’ role group of the 16 personality types are primarily and purely rational thinkers. They are highly independent and focus on the most logical outcomes. Their downfalls are often in social relationships where they might miss how people feel in a given situation.
Their acronym covers the two middle letters, such as _NT_
Within the Analysts role group, four potential primary outcomes specify the personality type further:
- INTJ, also known as the “Architect”
- High imagination and able to plan strategies well
- INTP, also known as the “Logician”
- Inventors who pride themselves on knowledge-seeking
- ENTJ, also known as the “Commander”
- Strong-willed leaders who can always get the job done
- ENTP, also known as the “Debater”
- Curiosity kills the cat with the Debater and they love an intellectual challenge
Diplomats Personality Role
The Diplomats’ role group of the 16 personality types are solid empathetic individuals. They excel at providing supportive and cooperative social interactions, making them great balancers in social circles. But they fall short of being relied upon to make logical straight decisions.
Their acronym covers the two middle letters, such as _NF_
Within the Diplomats role group, four potential primary outcomes specify the personality type further:
- INFJ, also known as the “Advocate”
- A quiet soul with big dreams and ideals
- INFP, also known as the “Mediator”
- The most altruistic and charitabe of all types, they always support a good cause
- ENFJ, also known as the “Protagonist”
- An inspiring leader, rallying others to their mission
- ENFP, also known as the “Campaigner”
- Highly social and enthusiastic
Sentinels Personality Role
The Sentinels’ role group of the 16 personality types are highly practical individuals who bring stability and assurance to any situation. They make great workers committed to following structure and rules, but they can fall short when presented with opposing points of view or sudden change.
Their acronym covers the second and fourth letters, such as _S_J
Within the Sentinels role group, four potential primary outcomes specify the personality type further:
- ISTJ, also known as the “Logistician”
- A practical person who believes in facts and truth
- ISFJ, also known as the “Defender”
- A caring defender of their loved ones
- ESTJ, also known as the “Executive”
- An adminstrative expert and proficient manager
- ESFJ, also known as the “Consul”
- A social and caring person who is always ready to help
Explorers Personality Role
The Explorers’ role group of the 16 personality types is the most adventurous of all types. They can adapt to situations the other role groups can’t with quick thinking and mastery of any new tool or strategy. Their downfall, though, is the risks they take that can go wrong.
Their acronym covers the second and fourth letters, such as _S_P
Within the Explorers role group, four potential primary outcomes specify the personality type further:
- ISTP, also known as the “Virtuoso”
- Professional experimenters, great wiith their hands
- ISFP, also known as the “Adventurer”
- Artistic people ready to learn something new
- ESTP, also known as the “Entrepreneur”
- Energetic individuals who live on the edge
- ESFP, also known as the “Entertainer”
- Highly enthusiastic people who live to entertain
Personality Type Aspects For MMA Fighters
The five personality Aspects are the scales on which each person falls upon and this formulates your personality role, strategy, and final personality type definition.
But which of these Aspects are the most attributable to physical fighting?
Introverted vs Extraverted
Firstly, many MMA fighters are considered introverts on the Introverted vs. Extraverted Aspect scale.
It can sound pretty counter-intuitive as professional fighters get up on essentially a stage in front of the whole world to show off their skills, which would seem like an extraverted task.
But consider that fighting in mixed martial arts is by nature a solitary sport. A fighter might train with many others in a gym setting, but much of the training is an isolated experience.
Introverts prefer to do things by themselves mainly. Learning to fight and improve your skills is about being in your head, improving your understanding, and ultimately performing a solo activity to compete.
As someone who would call themselves an Introvert, it makes perfect sense. I may learn martial arts from many other people in a setting with lots of other people, but for the most part, I am focusing on myself, in my learning, doing a physical activity on my own to grow.
On the flip side, you could imagine extraverts enjoying more group-based sports like Football, Soccer, Baseball… and the most popular sports in America.
Intuitive vs Observant
The difference between Intuitive vs. Observant as an Aspect of personality types is that Intuitive people are generally more imaginative and believe in invented possibilities. In contrast, Observant people are more practical and focus on what they can control.
For MMA fighting, it is believed that most fighters fit within the Observant Aspect (_S__ and also known as Sensory). Observants are much more realistic and trust they can make decisions from this information.
Taking that perspective, imagine being in a fight and dealing with a quickly changing environment. You might be defending a strike or a takedown, so you would need to be observant of precisely what is happening in front of you to make the right decision.
On the opposite side, an Intuitive type fighter might struggle in difficult fighting situations because they’re too attached to the big move they want to make on their opponent rather than dealing with the actual situation.
Sometimes Intuition can help fighters like Conor McGregor imagine and predict precisely what round he will knock out his opponents. But if you’ve seen McGregor of late, his ability to react as an Observant seems lacking under challenging situations in the octagon.
Thinking vs Feeling
Thinkers are entirely logical types that focus on their decisions’ efficiency and effectiveness and don’t care so much about cooperating with others.
Feelers are more sensitive and emotionally responsive and can even be less competitive than their Thinking opposites.
On the surface level, Thinking Aspect type people are likely much more adaptable to fighting requirements.
You simply need to be able to put your emotions aside to deal with the challenge at hand, which might just be a roundhouse kick to your head. Being emotional about these difficulties often doesn’t allow a fighter to overcome them, but Thinking through it with a strategy might enable them to.
Whereas a fighter of a Feeling type might just have too much going on emotionally to be able to think clearly and come up with a solution to them damn leg kicks.
But I should note that a person who can feel more than others makes them more empathetic, which might give them an advantage against others who are showing unbalanced levels of aggression. That observation could lead them to the winning strike.
Judging vs Prospecting
People who fit the Judging aspect focus on finding clarity and predictability. They can be less spontaneous and prefer to plan ahead.
On the opposite, Prospecting people are open to the possibilities and are good at spotting opportunities, keeping their options open until the right moment shows itself.
Of all the Aspects of personality types, this one is the most subjective and difficult to determine as the preferable Aspect for an MMA fighter.
A Judging fighter is constantly seeking a straightforward solution to winning the fight. They’re likely to be reading every single response from their opponent and coming up with an articulated solution to overcome them. This reminds me of the likes of Petr Yan.
A Prospecting fighter is likely to be looser and processes less information while conserving their energies and efforts to wait for an opportunity to knock out their opponent. This reminds me of the likes of Sean O’Malley.
For me, there are clear benefits of both these Aspects in a fighter’s personality. And it’s likely to be one of the most defining of plenty of fights we’ve seen over the years.
Some fighters are very patient and will scrap it out with an opponent to learn every move they make and plan their strategy to win the fight with a responsive plan (Judging).
And some fighters are more relaxed, less about processing the details of their opponent, and trusting in their own abilities to be naturally reactive to when their opponent makes a mistake (Prospecting).
UFC Fighters Personality Types
Here’s a selection of personality types for some of the biggest UFC fighters:
- Dominick Cruz: INTJ
- Stephen Thompson: INFP
- Stipe Miocic: ISFJ
- Tyron Woodley: ISTP
- Francis Ngannou: ISFP
- Donald Cerrone: ESFP
- Conor McGregor: ESTP
- Michael Bisping: ESTP
ISTP Personality Type In UFC Fighters
It is said that the overwhelming majority of UFC fighters are of the ISTP personality type (Introverted, Observant, Thinking, Prospecting). These include Daniel Cormier, Anderson Silva, Robert Whittaker, and Max Holloway.
Georges St-Pierre’s Personality Type
GSP’s personality type is long debated as one of the best UFC fighters ever, but many say he is an INFJ (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging). But some say he could be an INTJ or an ISTJ as well.
INFJ MMA Fighters
Some INFJ fighters (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) in MMA & UFC, such as Lyoto Machida. Usually, an INFJ isn’t considered a physical fighter but more of someone who fights for meaning and the honor of others they care about.
That’s been my complete analysis on UFC fighters personality types, and I hope you’ve learned plenty about this topic as I have when putting it together!
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Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.