Elite combat athletes tend to be a very confident bunch on the whole, but even within that most assured of groups Conor McGregor’s self-confidence and belief stands out.
No matter what gargantuan challenge faces him or how little chance his critics afford him, the Irishman appears completely devoid of any doubt. And though he is famous for his promoting talents, this confidence never feels like mere promotional bluster, it never seems like a facade. McGregor’s willingness to take risks and the way in which he approaches challenges once the promoting is over makes it obvious that he believes the vast majority of what he says – even the stuff that seems utterly outlandish.
It is this unerring confidence that former two-weight, three-time UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen claims is at the heart of the UFC lightweight champion’s far-reaching appeal. Not the trash-talking that it inspires, not the performances or the knockouts that it fuels, but the confidence itself and how genuine if appears because of his willingness to back himself in every situation.
“People always miss what Conor’s selling,” Sonnen says in a video posted to his Facebook page and YouTube channel recently. “[People say], ‘He’s selling trash-talk’ or ‘he’s selling entertainment.’ Well you’re close. I mean, there is some trash-talk there and he’s definitely entertaining. But if you could only use one word, he’s selling confidence – that is the number one thing.”
“Anybody, any weight class, and it’s one thing to say [that] – it can be entertaining when a guy says it and goes and cuts a promo – but when you got a guy that walks the walk. You got a guy that will take on Jose Aldo – who hadn’t lost in ten years. You got a guy that will change weight-class and go up to 170[lbs] and take on [Nate] Diaz, go down to 155[lbs] [and fight for the] world championship and take on Eddie [Alvarez], switch sports and take on [Floyd Mayweather Junior]. It’s confidence that he’s selling, it’s confidence that’s on display, it’s a confidence that so many people wish they had. Everybody, everybody wishes they had this kind of confidence and then go out and try to follow through on their dreams.”
Hey, if there is one thing that Chael knows, it’s sales.
McGregor didn’t follow through on his promise to take the boxing world by storm and KO Floyd Mayweather in a matter of minutes last month, but it’s unlikely that his trademark confidence will be noticeably diminished upon his return. Partly because that really was a near impossible task for a man making his professional boxing debut, but mainly because ‘The Notorious’ one has proven his resiliency, as well as that of his self-belief, time and again.
You can watch Sonnen talk about McGregor below…