Nine Things You Can Learn From The Notorious ‘CONOR MCGREGOR’
We’re in the wake of a buildup for what is anticipated to be the biggest combat sports event in history, Conor McGregor Vs Floyd Mayweather. McGregor (21- 3 MMA, 9-1 UFC), the UFC’s lightweight champion and the only concurrent two-division champion in the promotion’s history, fights all-time great Floyd Mayweather (49-0 boxing) in a crossover-boxing match August 26 2017. One of the most celebrated sportsmen at the moment, Conor McGregor has proven time and again that he is more than just big talks. Here are a few things you can learn from The Notorious Conor Mc.Gregor.
I) BECOME OBSESSED
Conor attributes much of his success to hard work: ‘My confidence comes from my performance; from my work in the gym and my work ethic. They don’t work harder than me, and they don’t want it like I want it.’
He has gone further in saying: ‘I feel that to be at the pinnacle of any game, you’ve got to be a little gone to it. You’re not all there. You’re almost insane to your craft. I pay attention to nothing else.’
Conor’s coach John Kavanagh backs this up: ‘If you want to be champion of the world, it’s actually pretty simple: it just has to be your every waking moment.’
II) TAKE ON ADVERSITY
A week prior to making his UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) debut, Conor had to take a huge course of antibiotics to deal with wisdom tooth pain (barely being able to sleep).
He’s dealt with being sidelined for the best part of a year with an ACL tear, and fought in bouts for which he was barely able to walk in the run up to.
While a long list of opponents have pulled out from fights with him (with what Conor sees as minor injuries), leaving him with new opponents on just a few weeks’ notice, Conor is yet to pull out of a fight. He reminds himself that, ‘The true greats conquer adversity’, and lives up to his standard: ‘I don’t bitch, I don’t moan, I get it done’.
III) THE POWER OF VISUALISATION
Conor has said many time, ‘I visualise everything’ and ‘I saw myself as champion from Day 1’.
Through the repetition of a number of mantras—key words or phrases which signify his aims—‘I can go all day’, ‘capitalise’, ‘unify’—his visions become his reality.
This isn’t some kooky twist on the Law of Attraction, but a pragmatic way of developing grand strategy and mentally rehearing fights and training sessions. His adeptness in predicting how his fights will go has given him the nickname ‘Mystic Mac’ and allowed him to quip, ‘I don’t just knock them out; I pick the round’.
IV) BE PROLIFIC
Since first joining the UFC, Conor has fought multiple times a year, allowing him to build momentum and make a name for himself with incredible speed.
He does this by never allowing himself to get out of shape, chanting, ‘Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready!’ It’s always struck me as peculiar that fighters let themselves go after a fight—seemingly more so than other athletes in their off-seasons. The intensity of a training camp and a weight cut is perhaps much more intense which could necessitate it, but in this regard, Conor gives himself a major competitive advantage.
V) STAY HUMBLE
Though many would laugh at the idea of the Irish man’s humility, McGregor indulges in a kind of doublethink of being both champion and the underdog: ‘I am #1 at my craft, but I show up every day as a white belt—as a Day 1 beginner.’
This is something a lot of Winners do, seeing themselves as the underdog, even when they are clearly the best. After his first defeat in March, Conor cited his team’s mantra, ‘We win or we learn’. It’s been proven he’s not invincible, but the act of having convinced the world he was (prior to that defeat to Nate Diaz) is all the more impressive than actually being so.
VI) GET DRIVEN
Genghis Khan once said, ‘I hate luxury. I exercise moderation… It will be easy to forget your vision and purpose once you have fine clothes, fast horses and beautiful women. [In which case], you will be no better than a slave, and you will surely lose everything’.
The exception to the great Mongol conqueror’s statement is Conor McGregor. In one clip of UFC Embedded, when trying on a new suit, Conor said, ‘Luxury motivates. Some it might make comfortable, but for it, it pushes me on’—somehow having re-wired himself to be driven by it.
The fighter takes every experience as fuel to the fire. ‘I am a man with something to prove, and a man with something to prove is a dangerous individual.’
VII) PUNCH THROUGH THE WALL, NOT AT THE WALL
Conor came into the UFC saying, ‘We’re not here to take part. We’re here to take over’. Such grandiose statements and farreaching aspirations are necessary for great achievement, and Conor could only have become the person he is by making them.
McGregor might not always live up to what he sets himself, but it’s not for want of trying.
VIII) FOCUS ON YOURSELF
Conor answers his critics (and opponents who obsess over his antics), ‘winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners’.
Remarkably, he doesn’t adapt his training for who he’s going to be facing, choosing to just prepare generally (which is why he has been able to adapt to last-minute opponents largely successfully). He knows how to pump himself up: dressing in fine suits, training while fasting (especially when cutting weight), and having a beard at all times.
Focusing on himself has given him the self-awareness to break with convention in allowing for a moderate week of training in the run up to a fight—which might seem like common sense, but certainly hasn’t been standard practice. ‘During fight week, stay fresh. You want to be going in with your mind free.’
Conor sticks with the people he came up with, vowing never to move permanently to the US, but to stay in his home country of Ireland.
He trains with the same team as before he broke through, has the same committed partner, and puts tremendous value in relationships, giving back to those who have given to him.