Some might say that UFC fighters have a particular personality type to be able to do what they do.
Not too many people are willing to get beat up or give a beating to their fellow man.
Some UFC fighters’ personality types seem to give them the grit to enjoy doing what they do.
So much so it gives them a kind of twisted light and purpose in life.
In this article, I will cover the personality types theory and analyze some of the UFC MBTI types of some of the biggest names in the sport.
If you’d like, you can skip to famous UFC fighters and their personality types.
Table of Contents
A quick overview of the 16 personality types and MBTI
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 personality trait, e.g., “INFJ.”
This helps define the tendencies for likes, dislikes, emotions, passions, social ability, and much 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, check them out.
The 16 personality types are divided into four different role groups.
Roles explain the kinds of goals we set for ourselves, our interests, and our hobbies.
And for each role group, there are the same four different strategies:
- Confident Individualism
- People Mastery
- Constant Improvement
- Social Engagement
Strategies explain how we prefer to get things done and achieve our goals.
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.
These are the five personality Aspects that add up to become your personality type:
- Introverted vs. Extroverted
- Intuitive 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.
Next up, I’ll lay out some more details about each role, but if you don’t care about all that, then you can just skip to the list of fighters MBTI’s!
Analysts personality role
The Analysts’ role group of the 16 personality types are primarily 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 ability 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 Diplomat’s 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 charitable 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 with 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 others
Personality type Aspects for MMA fighters
The five personality Aspects are the scales on which each person falls, and this formulates your personality role, strategy, and final personality type definition.
But which of these Aspects are the most attributable to a fighter’s mindset or 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 a stage in front of the 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 to me.
I may learn martial arts from many other people in a setting with many 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 extroverts enjoying more group-based sports like Football, Soccer, or Baseball.
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 of 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 what is happening.
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 be a roundhouse kick to your head.
Being emotional about these difficulties often doesn’t allow a fighter to overcome them, but Thinking it through 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 those 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 kind of observation might 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 side, Prospecting people are open to 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 response from their opponent and coming up with an articulated solution to overcome them. This reminds me of the likes of Petr Yan.
The 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 abilities to be naturally reactive when their opponent makes a mistake (Prospecting).
Famous UFC fighter’s personality types
Here’s a selection of personality types for some of the most popular UFC fighters:
- Georges St-Pierre: INFJ
- Dominick Cruz: INTJ
- Robert Whittaker: ISTP
- Stephen Thompson: INFP
- Anderson Silva: ISTP
- Stipe Miocic: ISFJ
- Tyron Woodley: ISTP
- Daniel Cormier: ISTP
- Francis Ngannou: ISFP
- Donald Cerrone: ESFP
- Conor McGregor: ESTP
- Max Holloway: ISTP
- Michael Bisping: ESTP
- Lyoto Machida: INFJ
You might notice some common patterns with these UFC MBTI results.
For example, it’s often said that the overwhelming majority of UFC fighters must be of the ISTP personality type (Introverted, Observant, Thinking, Prospecting).
Something rarer is the presence of INFJ fighters (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) in mixed martial arts.
They aren’t typically considered physical fighters but as someone who fights for meaning or the honor of others.
Let’s look at a few of them individually and explain more.
Georges St-Pierre’s MBTI personality type
GSP 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.
Personally, I think that he mostly fits the INFJ mold because he is clearly introverted (having terrible trash-talking), comes into a fight with a solid game plan, but also adapts exceptionally well to any situation.
Dominick Cruz’s MBTI personality type
Dominick Cruz embodies characteristics of the INTJ personality type: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.
He’s highly strategic and analytical as he meticulously dissects his opponents’ styles, looking for a clear path to win, which reflects INTJ’s planning and problem-solving.
His introverted nature shows up in his thoughtful introspection, allowing him to refine and return with a measured approach.
INTJ’s love for complex thinking and technical perfection goes hand in hand with his training efforts.
To add to all of that, his ability to bounce back from several injuries in his career shows just how resilient he is, as is typical of INTJs.
He retains his determination to compete, even after being in the fight game for so long.
Cruz has those traits that align very easily with the INTJ archetype.
Robert Whittaker’s MBTI personality type
Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker exemplifies the ISTP (Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Perceiving) personality type.
His Introverted nature is clearly displayed in his calm, collected demeanor. You’ll often see him observing other fighters rather than being the center of attention.
The Sensing aspect is reflected in his awareness of his surroundings and adaptability when fighting new opponent styles.
I distinctly remember him fighting with his led hand lowered to prevent takedowns at UFC 160. The man is ADAPTABLE!
His Thinking trait is apparent in his strategic approach as he makes calculated decisions rather than acting impulsively (though sometimes that costs him in the octagon).
The fluid fighting style he’s able to display showcases the Perceiving trait, being able to adjust to the needs of the fight rather than sticking to a rigid gameplan.
So putting together Whittaker’s combination of traits aligns well with the ISTP personality type.