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Chael Sonnen argues that Conor McGregor doesn't need to be 'hungry' to return to his best

Chael Sonnen (left); Conor McGregor (right)
Chael Sonnen (left); Conor McGregor (right)
Johny Payne
Modified 08 Apr 2021

Chael Sonnen has suggested that Conor McGregor doesn’t need 'motivation' or 'hunger' to find success inside the octagon.

Much has been made of Conor McGregor’s most recent fight, a second-round TKO loss in his rematch against Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 (January 2021).

McGregor had dominantly defeated Poirier via first-round TKO in their first fight at UFC 178 (September 2014). He was expected to decisively beat The Diamond in the rematch as well.

Not only did the Irishman end up losing, but he also suffered the very first KO/TKO loss of his MMA career. On that note, many in the combat sports world have chimed in with their respective hypothesis about what led to McGregor’s defeat.

Some believe that a lack of motivation could’ve played a role, whereas others claim that perhaps the inactivity over the past few years hurt Conor McGregor.

In a recent episode of Beyond the Fight, MMA legend Chael Sonnen explained that Conor McGregor doesn’t need to be hungry to succeed. The American Gangster noted that what McGregor needs is 'discipline'.

“Conor tweeted that ‘Double skills work. I did not take a day off, not even a Sunday, when I was training to become the UFC 145-pound champion’. He said I’ll take the same approach for my next fight. End quote. Okay. So, what Conor’s talking about there, whether he understands it or not, he’s talking about discipline over motivation. He’s talking about discipline over hunger. And the question comes, ‘Can you do it?’ If you are not hungry and you are not motivated, can you do it? You know I don’t like the word hunger. I don’t like the word motivated. I don’t like it when coaches tell the athlete that you must – and then fill in the blank on something that’s a human emotion that they cannot just produce.”
“Being motivated is a great time of life because now you’re still having fun, you’re enjoying it, you’re motivated. But you can’t control that. If you could, you’d be motivated every day. You can’t control it. It comes and it goes. So what do you do? Well, then you gotta be a life of discipline. And nobody will ever succeed in anything if they are not disciplined. And discipline is focus; that’s where mental toughness comes in. You have to be disciplined. This is what I’m going to do, whether I want to do it or not,” said Chael Sonnen.

Additionally, Chael Sonnen explained that Conor McGregor had to be more disciplined to make the 145-pound weight limit during his time in the Featherweight division.


The MMA legend also pointed out that McGregor himself had confirmed he didn’t take the no-days-off approach to train for his fights in the Lightweight division. Sonnen said that this decrease in discipline adversely affected Conor McGregor.

Chael Sonnen believes Conor McGregor is likely to go back to his old strategy

Conor McGregor (left); Dustin Poirier (right)
Conor McGregor (left); Dustin Poirier (right)

The MMA legend also suggested that we could see Conor McGregor go back to the strategy that has worked for him in the past.

“Tom Hogan had this up in the Westland weight room – I’ll never forget it – But all it simply said is ‘Nobody ever got better working out on the days that they felt like it’. That was the entire quote. And I saw it every single day of my life. I don’t need another quote. That’s true – Nobody ever got better working out on the days that they feel like. If that’s true, so what Conor McGregor is talking about is, ‘I’ve identified what worked for me in the past, and I need to go out and duplicate it’,” said Chael Sonnen.

Chael Sonnen indicated that contrary to popular opinion, fighting is not 20 percent physical and 80 percent mental. According to the MMA legend, it’s quite the opposite.

He expects The Notorious One to focus more on the physical aspect of training rather than the mental side of it.

"People like to say that the sport is 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. But we spend 80 percent of the time on the physical and only 20 percent on the mental. It’s not true. It’s 80 percent physical and it’s 20 percent mental. That’s the truth,” said Sonnen. (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

Currently, Conor McGregor is set to face Dustin Poirier in their trilogy fight at UFC 264 (July 10th, 2021). The winner of the bout could fight for the UFC Lightweight title later this year.

Which fighter do you see emerging victorious in the Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier trilogy fight? Sound off in the comments.

Published 08 Apr 2021, 06:37 IST
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