What makes a world champion? Dedication, patience, hard work, talent – these are qualities that are often found in the most successful martial artists who have achieved world champion status. Countless athletes and martial artists all strive to become world champions, however, not everyone is successful. To become a world champion, you need a certain mindset that puts you above the rest.
We have all heard stories of how certain people managed to become world champions – but what makes one wonder is what exactly makes them different from other martial artists who work equally hard to become successful? The truth is that they had a mindset unique from other athletes.
Before they stepped on the mats, ring, or in the cage, they stuck fiercely to their mindsets, fully believing them and reliving them as soon as they touched fists with their opponents. Today, Evolve Daily examines the mindset of some of the most talented world champions in martial arts history:
“I’ve got to become a survivor.” – Shinya Aoki
According to ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya Aoki, fighting in the cage is akin to survival in the real world. After all, he says, one learns martial arts to survive an attack. And Aoki is doing a great job of surviving – if he isn’t submitting his opponents, he’s landing devastating punches and takedowns.
“I’d rather die than lose.” – Ronda Rousey
UFC Women’s Bantamweight World Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is no stranger to keeping a winning mindset. Since her early teens, Rousey has been a competitive Judo athlete, earning a spot on the US Olympic team at 17 and placing third at the Beijing Olympics at 21 years old. Her mother, a Judo World Champion herself, instilled this attitude in Ronda from a very young age. There is no doubt that this mindset has served her well in her career as an MMA fighter.
“To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are.” -Muhammad Ali
It is often said that Muhammad Ali’s persona often overshadowed his prowess in the boxing ring. His brash personality, filled with self-confidence and bravado created the image that Ali was unbeatable. And during his time, he certainly was. He believed that he was the greatest boxer there was, and being able to rise from defeat the way that he did was certainly no easy task.
“It’s just a game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.” – Manny Pacquiao
57 wins and 16 world titles later, there’s no doubt that Manny Pacquiao’s mindset was truly a winning one. Although his last fight against Floyd Mayweather did not go as planned, Pacquiao accepted the loss with grace and received a rousing applause from the audience. Social media also lauded the 8-time world champion, saying that he was still a champion, no matter what the outcome of the fight was.
“Focus on staying calm and relaxed, don’t get distracted.” – Namsaknoi Yudthagarngamtorn
The man with one of the longest reigns of any Lumpinee Muay World Champion in history, his incredible professional record of 285 wins and 15 losses certainly knows a thing or two about a winning mindset. For Namsaknoi, keeping calm before a fight helped him focus on performing to the best of his abilities. Instead of worrying about whom he was fighting or what was at stake, he knew that these were simply out of his control so maintaining focus was important to him.
“I’ve always set my goals very high, and I don’t stop until I achieve them.” – Roger Gracie
In a recent match against Rodrigo Comprido, 10-time BJJ World Champion Roger Gracie went back to his roots and won the match with a beautiful yet simple choke from the mount position. After taking a 5-year break from IBJJF competitions, Gracie proved once again that his in-depth knowledge of basic BJJ techniques reigned supreme. Although Gracie is focusing on his MMA career at the moment, there’s no doubt that there’s no stopping him once he’s set his mind on any particular goal.
“Gold medals really aren’t made of gold. They’re made of sweat, determination, and a hard to find alloy called guts.” – Dan Gable
Possibly one of the most talented wrestlers of all time, Dan Gable also became one of the best wrestling coaches in NCAA history. However, his achievements did not come easy. In fact, Gable admits that losing an NCAA final match was what changed his mindset completely. He realized that he wasn’t invincible, forcing him to work harder. He ended up winning 118 straight matches for Iowa state, earned two NCAA championships and the gold medal at 1972 Olympics without surrendering a single point.
Tell us, how will you change your mindset today?