There’s a fine balancing act in maintaining the right mentality to be an elite fighter in the UFC. On the one hand, (as one notable MMA coach likes to put it) there’s the ideology of “win or learn”—a mind-frame that would seem to emphasize taking losses for what they are and maximizing their value. Not necessarily as points for regret or self deprecation, but opportunities to realize mistakes and improve the process of being a top-tier combat sports athlete.
The phrase “win or learn” may omit the actual word “lose,” but the unwritten implication of it seems to be that anything less than absolute victory is something of a loss. Even if that’s only to redefine losing as a chance for growth.
On the other hand, however, there’s the often very observable reality that one of the most valuable things a fighter can do for themselves is to find the reasonable lie; camp was bad, they got sick, they have a long-standing injury they’ve been working around, they just felt ‘off’ that night, the weight cut was terrible... After all, few things are more important in the Octagon than maintaining confidence. The fighter that starts believing they just weren’t good enough to win might not be able to shake that feeling.
For Conor McGregor, as he recovers from the broken leg he suffered against Dustin Poirier back at UFC 264, it seems clear which path he’s chosen. The ‘Notorious’ got into the thick of it with fans on Twitter, where he gave a rousing defense of his performance against Poirier in their July fight.
Score first. Check the trilogy. I was up 8 low kicks to 1 before the injury.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
I mean, I don’t care. I won’t ever look to the ref or anyone bar myself to adjust in a fight. You do what you got to do in there. The leg was broke before the guillotine it’s why I went for it. He was getting lumped around every where. Open space. Clinch. Bottom. Lumped around.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
Can see the weight in those upkicks he was eating here as well. Which weren’t even the two heaviest upkicks I landed. Where was he going from open guard top here? He not like upkicks thru the face? Elbows down thru the crown? No like? Tough shit, see ya soon.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
Pumped where? He was lumped around every position. Open space. Clinch. Bottom. There was nowhere he could go if that goes in that second round. You just a blind hater bro I’m sorry. God bless ya.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
Lol what? Push shots they were from top. Garbage. Zero effect. Look at him post fight he was chewed up in the brain mate. His head was sorer, my leg was sorer, who won the fight? A riddle.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
Lol. Look at the post fight interviews. He didn’t know what happened to his head. I dug those elbows into his brain. They change the whole make up of who are, them elbows. If anything they should be illegal ahahahah straight down into the soft spot of the crown.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
No loss was had here. That was my fight to win before the injury.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
It cracked from one of my own kicks early in the round. There was no check. Not one.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
I became a master at fighting on one leg since my acl reconstruction in 2013. I won all my ufc world titles on one leg. It’s why I was able to maneuver thru the fight even tho it was snapped, and not bear weight fully until the very last seconds of the round.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 2, 2021
No word yet on just when McGregor plans on returning to the cage, although early reports suggested fans would see him again sometime in 2022. Whenever he does get back into action, however, it doesn’t sound like he’ll have any hesitations about throwing himself back into danger. And coming off an injury as like the one he suffered, that may just be the best thing for him.