5 Ways That World Champions Develop Mental Toughness

Developing mental toughness is never easy, especially if you have to fight in a ring or cage in front of thousands of screaming fans. Your mind can get the best of you and could greatly affect your performance.

For many martial artists and athletes, developing mental toughness is one of the most difficult aspects of preparing for a fight or competition. Often times, these feelings stem from self-doubt and lack of self-confidence.

However, according to Muay Thai World Champions Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn, Orono Wor Petchpun, BJJ World Champions Leandro “Brodinho” Issa and Bruno Pucci, Muay Thai World Champion and ONE Strawweight World Champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, mental toughness is a quality you can develop over time, as long as you have complete focus and the determination to conquer it.

Want to know how these World Champions deal with the pressure of competition? Today, Evolve Daily presents 4 Ways World Champions Develop Mental Toughness:


1) Practice Makes Perfect


It is no secret that Dejdamrong is a highly decorated, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion. However, when he decided to pursue MMA, he had to start all over again. Due to his relentless mental toughness and his desire to improve himself, he eventually became a ONE Strawweight World Champion too. This remarkable achievement is a testament to his mental toughness.

“If you train hard, you will naturally develop mental toughness over time,” says Dejdamrong. “Every time you break through exhaustion, a plateau, or a tough sparring session, it will strengthen your warrior spirit. Diamonds are created from heat and pressure. Mental toughness comes from knowing you have given everything you have to training. It comes from breaking your limits.”

What you can do: Keep training. Embrace tough situations as opportunities to gain mental toughness!


2) Thorough Research


Multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Orono Wor Petchpun has fought some of the biggest names in Muay Thai history, using impeccable technique and by catching his opponents off-guard. The secret behind his success in the ring? Thoroughly researching his opponents and using their techniques against them. By studying his opponent’s moves, Orono knows exactly how to beat them, preventing any surprises from happening inside the ring.

You should know your opponent’s style before you get into the ring with them,” explains Orono. “Using their techniques against them is the best way to win!”

What you can do: Get online, ask around, do all the research you can before facing your opponent. Consult your instructor for the appropriate game plan to nullify your opponent’s techniques.


3) Just Relax


Although it seems like distracting yourself before a fight might calm your nerves, multiple-time Muay Thai World Champion Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn thinks otherwise. He believes that the more you do before a fight, the less focused you become, which could cost you in the end.

Don’t do anything before a fight,” says Namsaknoi. “The more things you do, the more reasons you’ll have to get distracted from your goal.”

What you can do: Relax, do absolutely nothing. Lie in bed, read a book or grab a quick snack. Getting stressed out is the last thing you should do!


4) Manage Your Confidence


BJJ World Champion and UFC Fighter Leandro “Brodinho” Issa is no stranger to competition. Having competed since his early teens, facing opponents on a large stage has never been an issue. However, Brodinho believes that managing your confidence and expectations is important for anyone to stay focused. Not only does it prevent you from getting sidetracked from your goals, it also helps you stay grounded and humble, which is important for any martial artist.

Being overly confident could be your biggest downfall,” says Brodinho. “Anything can happen during a fight.”

What you can do: Accept that your opponent has trained as hard as you have and that you’re both there for the same reason, which is to win.


5) Positive Thinking

IMG_8960 (1)

Whether you realize it or not, the more you visualize positive thoughts, the more likely you are to perform at your best. For BJJ World Champion and ONE Superstar Bruno Pucci, the power of positive thinking became a reality after winning the BJJ No-Gi World Championship.

I used to freeze in competitions,” Bruno admits. “But when I started relaxing and enjoying competing, my performance improved drastically.”

What you can do: Think happy thoughts! As simple as it may sound, you should visualize yourself succeeding in your tournament or fight. Relax, you know how hard you’ve worked up to this moment!


There’s no doubt that these World Champions are truly the best at their craft. We definitely can learn from their experiences and use them as inspiration, regardless of whether we are preparing for competition or not. Remember, all it takes is hard work, perseverance and the determination to accomplish your goals. You’ll get there someday, we believe in you!

More in Martial Arts

The History And Origins Of Vale Tudo

The History And Origins Of Vale Tudo

In its own way, the story of Vale Tudo is the story of modern competitive mixed martial arts. It is a story of innovation, grit, persistence, and a loyal fan base. There’s also a healthy…

Also On Evolve