What do you do when you have a reputation for winning, and then you lose? You come back stronger. Conor “Notorious” McGregor suffered his first UFC loss to Nate Diaz in March – after a win streak of 15 fights which included the UFC Featherweight Championship.
Following the fight against Diaz, Conor said “Defeat is the secret ingredient to success.”
“It forced me to analyze where I was going. The lack of structure in my preparation and my focus. It forced me to come back a couple of steps and correct things that I feel have gone off the tracks. So I am happy with it. Everything happens for a reason.”
Five months later, and this weekend Conor beat Diaz in an epic rematch.
Conor’s reaction after the win: “Everyone from the media to the fighters wrote me off this one. They tried to say if I lose this one, I’m done. They said I was done and it certainly lit a fire under me.”
“Every single person doubted me. Every single fighter doubted me.”
“Doubt me now.”
The bounce back that Conor achieved was matched on the weekend by the bounce back that the UFC itself achieved – with the sale of the UFC for $4 billion – making it the highest price tag of any sporting franchise sold in history.
This – after the UFC was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2001. Dana White and the Fertitta Brothers decided to buy the brand for $2 million back then. Lorenzo Fertitta recalls, “I had my attorneys tell me that I was crazy because I wasn’t buying anything. I was paying $2 million and they were saying ‘What are you getting?’”
“And I said ‘What you don’t understand is I’m getting the most valuable thing that I could possibly have, which is those three letters: UFC. That is what’s going to make this thing work.”
The new owners revamped the brand and – just like Conor – made a comeback: A $4 billion comeback.
Before he entered the Octagon this weekend, Conor reacted to the sale: “I was simply over the moon for them. To see the work they’ve put in, to see what they’ve done with it, I was inspired by it. Absolutely inspired by it.”
“What was it, the biggest sports sale in history? A little sport that they laughed at. They laughed at this sport. Everyone ridiculed this sport. This sport wasn’t even a sport. And now all of a sudden, with their guidance, it’s the biggest f*cking sports franchise in the world.”
“So I took inspiration from that. That is motivation right there.”
Then he went in and won the fight.
Who are you surrounding yourself with that’s motivating you?
When your defeats are painful and your struggles are real, surround yourself with those whose struggles and wins are even bigger than yours.
As Conor says of the UFC owners: “These are the people who have mentored me in this game and I’m very proud of that, and I’ll be proud of that until the day that I die. I have been surrounded by great people in this business and I continue to be surrounded by great people in this business.”
“Work hard, stay focused and surround yourself with good people.” ~ Tom Osborne