Conor McGregor is a multi-weight UFC champion, entrepreneur and global business and athletic icon. Hailing from Crumlin, Dublin, McGregor was a plumber’s apprentice and amateur fighter before bursting onto the UFC scene in 2013. He quickly rose up the ranks, winning the UFC Featherweight Championship in 2015. McGregor then made history by becoming the first fighter in UFC history to be champion in two weight divisions simultaneously, winning the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2016.As the first fighter to ever hold two UFC belts at the same time, Conor McGregor will go down in history as a great fighter and one of the most successful athletes of all time.

Outside the Octagon, McGregor has found similar success in business. The former UFC double champion is always looking to add new business projects to his list. He founded the fastest-growing whiskey brand on the market, invested in a stable of business ventures connected with sports, he owns a restaurant and even became the main face of a popular online game. Connor McGregor has started a partnership with a global investing company XTB and became the brand’s global ambassador. In an interview he talks about the mindset, confidence and passion that took him from a training gym in a suburb outside of Dublin to worldwide fame making him the biggest name in the UFC. His insights are relevant not only to sports, but may also be valuable in everyday life.

You have made your own successful way from boxing gyms of Crumlin to an UFC championship. It must have taken a lot of determination to achieve the top position. How do you find your inner motivation for constant development?
Conor McGregor: I’ve just had this dream since I was a kid to be the best there ever was. I wanted to give an incredible life to myself and my family. And I never let anything stop me. I put in the work, took risks, and the results came.

What is most important for you in a sport? Are there any lessons from sports that could be translated to life?
Sport teaches you about getting back up after you fall. Fighting specifically teaches you that. You will get knocked out and battered one day – just like in life. How you respond is everything. If you can withstand the blows and keep fighting, you’ll find some sort of success.

Your sports career shows that you mentally won many of your fights even before the first round. Would you agree that it is about the mindset whether someone will achieve success or not?

It’s a combination of both mental and physical preparation. Someone with an unbreakable drive and a clear vision is not going to be discouraged or distracted. You need to be 100 percent mentally and emotionally committed and prepared.

People often set limitations on their potential. What is your best advice on breaking one’s limits?

There are no real limits to what one can do! They are placed on you by yourself or by society. In truth, everything is possible if you put your heart and mind into it.

Martial arts are very demanding, both physically and mentally. Every fight needs a perfect preparation – heavy drills but also preparing a plan. How do you prepare a winning strategy?

Well, it’s about knowing your opponent inside and out. Where as it’s about preparing yourself to such a point where you can trust yourself, mentally and physically, to be ready for everything. Sun Tzu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”

As a fighter, it is good to understand the stress response and how it works. How do you cope with the stress in the most highly pressured situation?

The world is watching, there is no hiding from that anymore. But I enjoy the pressure. It motivates me and takes me to another place. It locks me into the moment, heightens my awareness, makes me appreciate all I’ve accomplished, and reminds me what I need to do.

You excel equally at sport and business. You were the highest-paid athlete last year. You have proved you have a business acumen: the businesses you have invested in turned out to bring profits. What do you think determines the success in business?

Well, many athletes will just invest their money and let the “experts” handle the day-to-day. Not me. You can’t just invest money; you have to invest your time, your emotions, and make a personal commitment. I take an active role in every venture. I help to make sure we bring in the right people, our processes are top quality, and our expectations never falter.

Do you see any similarities between business and sports?

If you want to win, you need to be all-in. You need to prepare, you need to know your opponents, your competition. You need to understand yourself – your strengths and weaknesses, and you need to be dedicated to thr craft.

Sport as well as business can be unpredictable. How do you cope with situations when things don’t work out as planned?

Well, I’ve had setbacks before. It happens. For me, you can learn more from losses than you can from wins. You learn from your mistakes, you study your failure to see where it went wrong, and you use it as motivation. Setbacks are brutal – but every loss I’ve had has motivated me to get better.

Many people feel uncomfortable talking about money. You are talking openly about your incomes or investments. Do you think people still talk too little about finance?

I talk about money so people realize you can come from any background and be successful in business. It’s not just a club for the guys on Wall Street. If someone sees me, a professional fighter who never went to university, talking about business, then they may say “I can do that!”

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