Conor McGregor is one of the most popular icons of success in the world. His life-changing story has inspired millions of people. The Irishman has tasted poverty, worked as a plumber, and lived off social welfare checks. He has also tasted success and fame of the overwhelming kind, with the whole world bowing to him in awe and adulation.
However, nothing has come easy for Conor McGregor. Behind the image of a multi-millionaire MMA fighter-cum-business tycoon lies a passionate, hard worker who has tasted failure at several junctures of his life. And yet, he has never given up.
Though 'Notorious' is one of the most successful athletes in sports history, he is no stranger to failure. Here, we look at some of Conor McGregor's best quotes about hardship and adversity.
#5 - "You must lose" - Conor McGregor talks about the importance of defeat
Even the greatest of MMA fighters and athletes have lost a few times in their careers. Many of them have been caught finding excuses for their defeats, as well. But that is not the case with Conor McGregor. He has lost five times in an MMA career spanning over a decade but has always owned his shortcomings.
Speaking about giving excuses, Conor McGregor said:
"There is no excuse, you know what I mean? Look, I've been beat before.. I've lost MMA fights, I've lost boxing fights, I've lost so many fights in the gym. I lose all the time.. It is what it is. Any true martial artist will know - in order to succeed at this game, you must lose a fu**ing s**t lot of times. You must lose many times. We all have the same emotions, we have all won and we have all lost. It's a sport, it is what it is, just get on with it. Look to learn from it. The day you stop trying to learn is the day you start losing. I'm always going to learn regardless of the result. Win or lose, I will take something from it all."
Conor McGregor has always taken his losses in his stride and moved on, be it the defeat against Nate Diaz, Khabib Nurmagomedov or Dustin Poirier. He has always believed in the philosophy of learning from losses, but at the same time, not letting victory get to his head. He continued:
"You know the way the people say, 'you learn more from your losses'. That is true, you learn a lot from your losses, but as well as that, you learn from your wins. People can say, 'let's say you beat a guy.. and you're a winner now. So now I get to take the foot off the pedal. I don't need to learn so much. I'm a winner.' You know, that's gonna stop you. That can take over people, especially in this game, when you're assigned to the UFC. That can make you feel bigger than you are."
Also read: Dustin Poirier reveals why he publicly accused Conor McGregor of not making promised donation to his charity.
#4 - "We win or we learn" - Conor McGregor speaks about taking losses in his stride
In the rematch against Nate Diaz at UFC 202, Conor McGregor showed an improved understanding of taking on a bigger and tougher opponent. He used a lot of leg kicks to slow Nate down and engaged in improved distance and energy management.
Compared to the previous outing against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, Conor McGregor improved on many things. Despite knocking down the Stockton native on a few occasions, the Irishman stayed calm and calculative. Him eking out a hard-fought victory and avenging his loss was a result of taking failure the right way.
Despite suffering a humiliating loss against Nate Diaz at UFC 196, Conor McGregor maintained a positive attitude, displaying textbook behavior on how to react to a loss. After going through a dogfight at UFC 202 and winning it, 'Notorious' said:
"As my coach said, we win or we learn. I learned from the last contest."
#2 - "Defeat is the secret ingredient" - Conor McGregor shares his recipe for success
Conor McGregor went on an eight-fight winning streak, securing seven KO/TKOs and a submission, before making his UFC debut in 2013. In his debut with the promotion, he knocked out Marcus Brimage in the first round and announced his arrival on the big stage. However, the Irishman's second UFC project brought him the toughest challenge of his life.
Nearly five years since starting his MMA career, Conor McGregor didn't need to go past the second round, including in his defeats. In addition, all of his previous 13 wins were stoppages. But when he faced Max Holloway in August 2013, he had the fight of his life.
He tore his ACL mid-fight but went on until the end, regardless. At the end of three rounds of absolute war, Conor McGregor took the decision win, the first in his MMA career. It earned him a lot of praise for showing heart. A few months later, Conor put out a tweet that could be taken as one of his mantras for success. He wrote:
"Never fear defeat. Defeat is the secret ingredient to success."
#3 - "It’s a tough pill to swallow" - Conor McGregor reacts to his loss to Nate Diaz
Conor McGregor was booked to face Rafael dos Anjos in March 2016 at UFC 196. However, with 'RDA' pulling out due to an injury, Nate Diaz stepped in on 11-days' notice. The fight took place at catchweight and although 'The Stockton Slugger' went in as an underdog, he caused a major upset.
Nate Diaz defeated 'Notorious' in round two via submission and gave him a taste as sour as vinegar in his mouth. It was a difficult result for McGregor, who said at the UFC 196 post-fight conference:
"It's a tough pill to swallow but we can either run from our adversity or run to our adversity, take it head on and conquer it. We should celebrate all adversity because it makes you grow and it makes you stronger."
Conor McGregor returned five months later to face Nate Diaz for a rematch and, although by a fine margin via decision, came out victorious.
#1 - "You might win some, you might lose some" - Conor McGregor on the importance of facing challenges
Conor McGregor has an MMA record of 22-5, with three of his losses coming in the last five years. In a 13-year long MMA career, 'The Notorious' has only been knocked out once and has gone on a 15-fight winning streak. McGregor was a multi-division champ back in Ireland during his time with Cage Warriors.
He had announced that it was his plan to become the first concurrent multi-division champion in the UFC, as well. Three years after his UFC debut, Conor McGregor brought his dreams to fruition. Obviously, he has become accustomed to winning. However, he knows a thing or two about losing as well, having suffered humiliating losses in his career and still keeping his chin up.
Over the years, Conor McGregor has learned the key is not to keep winning but to keep challenging oneself. He expressed his belief when he said:
"You might win some, you might lose some. But you go in, you challenge yourself, you become a better man, a better individual, a better fighter."