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Inside the Mind of a Champion: Conor McGregor on Developing Mental Toughness

Inside the Mind of a Champion: Conor McGregor on Developing Mental Toughness

Conor McGregor is a multi-weight UFC champion, entrepreneur, restaurateur, global business and athletic icon, and soon-to-be movie star. Hailing from Crumlin, Dublin, McGregor was a plumber’s apprentice and amateur fighter before bursting onto the UFC scene in 2013. He quickly rose up the ranks, winning the UFC Featherweight Championship in 2015. McGregor then made history by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to be champion in two weight divisions simultaneously, winning the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2016. McGregor is the largest draw in UFC history, headlining the top six most-bought pay-per-view events for the company. He is the most-followed UFC fighter on social media with more than 70 million followers across all platforms, and has set the record for the most career earnings by a UFC athlete.

Outside the Octagon, McGregor has found similar success. He co-founded Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey in 2018, which has become the fastest-growing whiskey brand on the market. In addition to Proper No. Twelve, McGregor has invested in a stable of business ventures including: TIDL Recovery Spray, The Black Forge Inn in Dublin, the Dystopia: Conquest of Heroes video game series, McGregor Fast fitness, and Forged Irish Stout, among others. This diversified portfolio helped place McGregor at number 1 on the 2021 Forbes “Highest-Paid Athletes” list.

McGregor, at 34 years old, splits his time between his home in Dublin, the United States, and the Mediterranean. He lives with his fiancée and high school sweetheart, Dee, and their three children – Conor Jr., Croia, and Rian.

"For many times, I was laughed at, not believed in. But, you know what? Nothing external can, defeat the internal. The only thing that can take someone down or break you down is internal. Nothing external is strong enough. It's just about making sure your internal dialogue & your internal belief in yourself is strong enough that can withstand the external. The external is there. You've got to accept it. You've got to embrace it. You've got to understand it & be aware of it. But don't let it seep into your internal dialogue."

CONOR MCGREGOR & tony Robbins

The first fighter to ever hold two UFC belts at the same time, Conor McGregor will go down in history as one of the most successful athletes and greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time. To call him confident would be an understatement – he has an unshakeable certainty in himself that has pushed him to overcome incredible odds – like many other successful athletes.

In this Tony Robbins interview with Conor McGregor, he discusses the ruthless mindset and unwavering passion that took him from being a plumber’s apprentice to worldwide fame as the most “Notorious” fighter on the planet and the biggest name in the UFC.


Born and raised in a rough, working class suburb outside of Dublin, Conor’s first job was as a plumber’s apprentice. Yet he refused to be shaped by the limits that defined where he grew up. He knew he was destined for great things – and he knew he needed to follow his passion. That passion for fighting is what created his legendary work ethic. As he says, “You cannot fully commit to something if you are not passionate about it.” Conor has always had an all-or-nothing attitude, and when he decided to go all-in on fighting, he became laser-focused on success.


When he was just a teenager, Conor discovered a powerful way to channel his focus: goal visualization. He’d practice as he was driving to the mall, visualizing that the car park space right next to the door would be empty. Of course, it wasn’t always empty, but he knew that building empowering habits depends on practice and commitment. He started visualizing himself making goals in soccer, then visualizing his fights. It worked. He says, “I was able to tell the world I’m going to knock this man out with this exact shot at this exact time and I was able to do it.”


Visualization isn’t the only thing that helped Conor get where he is today. He’s surrounded himself with an incredible team of fighters, trainers and nutritionists who keep him on track and propel him toward success. He’s been with his partner since age 19, just as he was beginning his mixed martial arts career, and she even supported them financially during that time. McGregor uses the amazing support he receives to inspire him to work even harder, saying “a lack of commitment is an insult to people who believe in you.”


Like every successful human being on the planet, Conor has also experienced massive failure. He’ll provide an inside look at two of the most anticipated fights in combat sports: Conor’s landmark boxing match against 11-time world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. – and his lightweight MMA title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. Conor breaks down what led to his defeat, and reveals just what happened in the chaos that ensued afterwards – what he refers to in this interview as the “real” fight.


Conor is always “all-in.” He’s fully committed to constant and never-ending improvement, both in the ring and outside of it. One big area of development for him has been mastering his mindset. He knows that the fight game is all psychological. To control the outcome in the ring, you must control your emotions. Yet he readily admits this is difficult for him – and he doesn’t always succeed. He says, “I don’t claim to know it all … but I’m continuing to learn.” Spoken like a true champion.

Nothing external can, defeat the internal.

McGregor’s first foray into movies, as the co-star of the iconic Roadhouse reboot


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