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Conor McGregor, the undeniable force

Tony Robbins interviews Conor McGregor on passion, growth and teamwork

This episode contains language that may be inappropriate for some listeners. To listen to a clean version, see below.


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.

The need for passion

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.

The power of visualization

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.”

Building a great team

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.”

The lessons of defeat

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.

Continuous and never-ending improvement

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 defat the internal. The only thing that can break someone down is internal. You've got to make sure your internal belief within yourself can defeat the external." Conor Mcgregor

SHOW NOTES

[03:13] Early days as a plumber’s apprentice
[03:45] Conor’s work ethic and passion
[04:15] Passion for fighting and whiskey
[05:07] Use power to lead, not boss
[05:30] The hard-working town of Dublin 12
[06:02] Desire to break the mold
[06:33] Transition from plumber to fighter
[07:03] The desire for something better
[07:25] An Irishman in the UFC
[07:59] The formula for creating success
[08:33] McGregors are warriors
[08:53] The law of attraction
[09:24] Visualize, see, tell
[10:35] Importance of being “all-in”
[11:10] First visions of selling out soccer arenas
[12:00] The power of internal dialogue
[12:28] Learning is daily
[12:52] Conor’s morning ritual
[13:22] Bringing the game to Ireland
[14:13] Relationship with the UFC
[14:44] Ireland on the UFC belt
[15:07] Importance of physical fitness
[15:54] The one trait of the successful
[16:14] Lebron’s health team
[16:43] Why you can’t be half way in
[17:15] Conor’s thank you to Tony
[17:35] Influence of Muhammed Ali
[18:09] Trash talking
[18:58] Why Conor got into combat sports
[19:20] Why the tough guys aren’t tough anymore
[19:57] Wits beat toughness
[20:13] Trash talking as psychological warfare
[21:00] Making Jose Aldo a champion
[21:17] The fight game is psychological
[21:41] When visualizations come true
[22:06] Conor’s love of fashion
[22:44] Where the love for money began
[23:10] The August McGregor clothing line
[24:00] Most significant fight moment
[24:57] Conor’s blessing and curse
[25:38] The last fight with Khabib
[26:12] This errors in the Khabib fight
[26:51] The fight after the fight
[27:20] Focus on defense
[28:01] Training with other wrestlers
[28:25] Letting the external infiltrate the internal
[29:03] The boxing fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
[29:52] Convincing Floyd to fight
[30:34] Preparing for the fight
[31:00] The Mexican boxing style
[31:36] Will there be a rematch?
[32:00] Training and creating stamina
[32:35] The McGregor FAST program
[33:15] Lack of commitment is an insult
[33:54] Have to be willing to die
[34:40] The sport of gladiators
[35:18] What really happened after the Khabib fight
[35:51] Being humble in victory and defeat
[36:15] Khabib’s brother joins the fight
[37:00] Mindset during the brawl
[38:00] The afterfight – the “real” fight
[38:43] Conor’s Irish Whiskey, Proper 12
[39:14] The pride in Irish Whiskey
[39:51] Taking on Jameson, the King of Irish Whiskey
[40:20] Entering the whiskey business
[40:42] Decision not to do an endorsement
[41:00] The Dublin 12 whiskey making process
[41:40] Work with children’s hospitals
[42:20] Work with homeless, maternity hospitals
[42:45] Donations to first-responders
[43:43] Being rewarded in public for what you do in private
[44:20] Giving time vs. money
[45:07] Developing discipline
[45:33] The power of hard work

Conor isn’t just a fighter. His whiskey company, Proper 12, is a huge success. He’s a dedicated father of two – but you won’t catch him in dad jeans. He’s got a great sense of fashion, which if you’ve seen pictures of him, you already know. He has a big heart, he gives generously to hospitals and first responders. And despite all the trash talking, he is humble in both victory and defeat. Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor is unapologetically Conor McGregor.

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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