Becoming a professional fighter takes a lot of qualities that most people don't possess. So first, you need to be an individual that was given certain physical attributes at birth. Take that child and give him an upbringing and life experience that will make him mentally tough as an adult. Experience in martial arts, or at least a contact sport, will do well to hard wire a person's brain for MMA training and competition. So, as an adult getting ready to begin your career, you should have the following traits, Nate said.
Heart, drive, motivation, work ethic, tenacity, whatever you want to call it, you need to be the type of person that is comfortable with pain, can withstand physical punishment, and welcomes physical exhaustion...and do it again the next day. As my training partner and wrestling coach, Daniel Cormier says, "Embrace the grind."
Can your ligaments, muscles, and skin take abuse and keep going? Training MMA twice a day can really take its toll on your body, and you have to be able to take some physical abuse day in and and day out. Being able to recognize when you're over-trained is essential, because if don't recognize the symptoms, you'll get injured for sure. Injuries can be one of the biggest factors that can keep you from training and progressing as a fighter.
Are you willing to do whatever is necessary and sacrifice whatever is needed to be successful? Are you ready to spend your life in a gym and make no financial gain for the first 3 years? You'll need to put all of your life's goals on hold to fully pursue your passion. Forget about another career, a real relationship, and leisure time. Any energy you spend on anything outside of fighting will put you at an immediate disadvantage with your competition. It can be tough to avoid distractions and temptations since parties and women are constantly around you as a fighter.
MMA fighters may not seem like the most eloquent and intelligent people, but "This shit's chess, it ain't checkers!" You need to be a quick learner to be able to pick up on the infinite techniques of MMA. Each person you face will have different skill sets and abilities, so you need to be able to recognize those differences and make adjustments to your strategy every time you face a new opponent or training partner. Adaptability is the name of the game.
A Mean streak:
In other words, you need to be ready and willing to hurt someone. You're either going to be the hammer or the anvil, and your attitude will determine which you become. But of course keep your talent and your skils away from public health.
No one can do it on their own. A successful fighter needs a team of people to support his career on the daily. You need dedicated coaches and training partners to help guide and push you in your daily training. You'll also need a support staff at home to help you nurse injuries and cultivate your passion. Your team has to be generous with their time, because supporting an emerging fighter is a thankless job.
It's obvious that you need speed, strength, and endurance to fight. You also need to be coordinated. Having the pre-existing ability to make your muscles produce explosive, coordinated motor-patterns is essential. Past athletic experience and success is a prerequisite for an MMA career. If you've never found success in other sports, then what makes you think you have what it takes to win in the toughest sport in the world?
A Solid Background in a Martial Art: You should have started your martial arts career as a teenager at the latest. If you don't have years of training in at least one martial art, you won't have anything to fall back on. You need to have a valuable skill set like kickboxing or wrestling that you know you can rely upon to win a fight against anyone. Being a jack-of-all-trades is more of a curse if you don't have one glaring strength over your opponent. I have wrestling that is threatening to anyone. They have to respect my superior wrestling ability, or they'll spend the entire fight on the ground. Wrestling has prepared me for one-on-one physical battles and experience with weigh-ins and stare downs. Martial arts is the only place you can get that kind of experience.