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Inside the Mind of an MMA Fighter With Sports Psychologist David Mullins



To get to the top in any sport, the most important thing is not just the hours upon hours you spend in the gym perfecting your craft but your mindset. Do you really want to be a world champion? How badly do you want to succeed? Many fighters go through vigorous training sessions every day of the week but are they training the most important and powerful tool they possess, their mind? So how does one train their mind? Team SBG sports psychologist David Mullins tells MMA Latest News how.

MML: So, Dave, you work with a lot of the guys at team SBG, a lot of people say not enough people in MMA train the mind they only train the body, so how would you train one of your guys mentally? Is it visualisation and basically talking your way through the fight before it’s even happened?

I’m glad you asked that question. It’s one I get asked a lot. The answer is it really depends on the athlete. My work is based around improving performance both in training and come competition time. Getting the best performance possible when it really counts.

From a mental point of view, the main skills I want to improve are confidence, focus, self-talk and time management(getting the most out of each day). That’s true for all athletes. But then there are different techniques I use and which ones depend on the athlete because everyone is an individual. Visualisation, like you pointed out, is one of those techniques, and is very beneficial, but it’s just a part. There is so much more that goes into a performance than most people will ever really understand.

“…confidence is a skill. It’s something to be worked on. It’s something that should grow in line with the work you put in and the improvements you make day to day.” – David Mullins

MML: How big of an advantage is confidence to have in a fight and does it make a difference?

Well having Confidence is crucial. Literally crucial. There is a big misunderstanding with it, though. People have the idea that someone is either confident or they’re not. But confidence is a skill. It’s something to be worked on. It’s something that should grow in line with the work you put in and the improvements you make day to day.

The easiest analogy might be when you first start to learn to drive. [The] confidence of going into heavy traffic and driving around town would be low. It should be low. Then you practice, you learn, you develop more understanding. Your confidence grows. You do well driving around town. Your confidence grows. You think I’m a good driver. Then you eventually get to the point where it’s almost impossible to think back to a time when you weren’t confident. Same can happen in reverse with a negative experience causing confidence to decrease.

I work with my athletes on understanding that confidence is something you want and something you develop. Self-awareness is a key element and then taking ownership of improvements in certain areas and as the skills improve so too does the confidence in those skills.

MML: A lot of guys in the UFC feel that they are unbeatable and that they are the very best at what they do. Is a mindset like that something you’re born with or can you train your mind to have that sense of invincibility?

I don’t know about invincibility being present. What there can be though, is a genuine self-belief that I will get this job done. That has to be based on real hard work being put in week to week. Smart work. The belief comes from that work. You can have all the self belief in the world but if you ain’t putting in the work you will get found out. Flip side is you can put in all the hard/smart work in the world but if you have limited belief then you will get found out. There has to be an awareness of the connection.

MML: Do you believe in the law of attraction from the book the secret?That if you basically eat, dress, breathe like a world champion that it’s just a matter of time before you become it?

No, I don’t believe in it. As an experiment, someone should eat, breath, and dress like a world champion for a few years (but don’t train at all) and then come back to me. But that’s not saying there isn’t some positive elements from the ‘Secret’ etc because there are.

It’s good to have a positive attitude. It’s dangerous though to think that is all you need. It’s not enough to wish for something. You have to put in all the work too. If The Secret has given some people that self-belief that they can achieve their goals then that’s great. But you still have to put in all the work. And there were other ways of obtaining that self-belief too, perhaps more useful ways. My problem with lots of that stuff is the way it’s marketed as it can be intentionally misleading.

“If all the smart hard work is being done and the skill level is high then the self-belief has the right to be high too.” – David Mullins

MML: Finally Dave, so say for example your working with an athlete who is in peak condition physically but has zero confidence and no belief does this athlete have any chance of making it to the top as their head is not right or is that something you can work on?

The idea of someone in peak physical condition having zero confidence is very unlikely. But in this example it’s the case so my first task would be to find out why. Why is there a confidence issue? What’s it based on? Past experiences, people around them telling them they can’t achieve, negative self-talk, lack of self-awareness, comparison to perception of others, etc.

Once I find out ‘Why’ then we can together start working on improving the confidence. As I said earlier it’s something which can be developed and improved. If all the smart hard work is being done and the skill level is high then the self-belief has the right to be high too’.

[For more great insight into David’s work check out For all the latest news in the world of MMA be sure to follow MMA Latest News on Facebook and Twitter.]

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Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor has ‘Every intention of fighting in 2018’



Despite being inactive since his historic boxing bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August, Conor McGregor is never far from the headlines. Recently his out of cage antics have got people questioning if he’ll ever be back.

Thankfully the UFC lightweight champion appears to have cleared up any rumors about his fighting career.

Speaking to his sponsor Betsafe, the “Notorious” Conor McGregor said “My focus is getting back into the right ring or octagon. 2017 was historic. I have transcended both the sport of MMA and boxing. At this stage of my career, as it has been for the majority of my UFC career, potential opponents must lobby for fights with me. We could see Conor McGregor anywhere. I run the fight game, the fashion game, the whiskey game or whatever the next business endeavor might be”.

McGregor added, “I have every intention of fighting in 2018 if my compensation and business development endeavors accurately reflect my influence on combat sports.”

This comes just two weeks after UFC President Dana White told reporters “Conor might never fight again. The guy’s got $100 (expletive) million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working.”

White went on to say “Try to get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank. Money changes everything with a lot of people.”

White also told reporters that the “Notorious one”, “can’t be paid enough money” and that he is “worth every penny and more.” McGregor’s recent statement suggests he knows that and won’t be back till his demands are met.

The UFC lightweight division has been stalled in the absence of the champion McGregor and now the interim champion Tony Ferguson has undergone surgery. The UFC has been known the remove belts from fighters who have been delayed for extended amounts of time, this would be highly unlikely with the popularity of McGregor.

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Conor McGregor

Will Conor McGregor ever fight again?



The future of the UFC’s biggest ever star is in doubt. But it was also never a secret. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor always made his intentions clear, “Get in. Get rich. Get out”. And now he’s rich, very rich.

In 2008 at the age of 20 a baby-faced, clean-shaven McGregor stated his ambitions for his MMA career after just 5 professional fights. He said “My dream is to be world champion in the UFC, have more money than I know what to do with, and have a great life for my kids, my grandkids, everyone in my family, everyone that’s come up with me. That’s my dream”.

Along his journey, McGregor has never kept his intentions to himself. At first, it was to get into the UFC. Then it was the featherweight belt. Then it was to replicate what he had done in his previous promotion, to become the UFC’s first simultaneous two-weight world champion.

The issue now is that McGregor has achieved everything he has set out to do. From world titles to being a multi-millionaire, he’s done it all. And now there is no statement of intent. No dream to chase.

Since he’s achieved everything he said he ever wanted, where does the hunger for more come from? Currently, it doesn’t appear to be there.

Since the last time we saw McGregor with gloves on, the charismatic Irishman has seemingly gone off the rails. There was the Bellator 187 incident in Dublin, where McGregor stormed the cage and pushed veteran referee Marc Goddard and slapped an official. But more recently the Irish Daily Mail has reported that McGregor was involved in a bar fight in his native Crumlin, where he is believed to have punched an associate of a major crime gang in Dublin. Whether this is true or not, it is still something a UFC champion and role model shouldn’t be associated with.

From the outside, McGregor’s life is more about hours spent at the club rather than the gym.

But who can blame the man for enjoying the fruits of his labor? He is acting how most 29-year-old men would if they had just received $100 million.

This is his life’s work paying off.

After McGregor’s loss at UFC 196, he wanted an immediate rematch against Nate Diaz at the same weight. It showed us he’s a true martial artist with the heart of a lion. It showed his desperation to get that win back and prove he is the better competitor. And when he won, he proved all his doubters wrong as he walked on crutches through the corridor of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas screaming “doubt me now”.

But after his loss to Mayweather Jr., there has seemingly been no desire to arrange a fight to get back in the win column.

It’s easy to forget during this period of inactivity that McGregor is one of the most active guys in MMA. From UFC 194 to UFC 205, McGregor competed in 4 fights at 3 different weight classes against high caliber opponents inside the space of 11 months. The truth is he deserves a well-earned rest.


Conor McGregor UFC 205

However, in a recent media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Conor was looking to fight before the end of the year but had been pulled from UFC 219 as punishment for the incident at Bellator 187.

Dana also told the reporters in the room “Conor might never fight again. The guys got $100 million. I’ve got guys that made less than that and were lawyers and went to school their whole life and quit working”.

White also said, “Try and get up and get punched in the face every day when you’ve got $100 million in the bank”.

The two statements from Dana are very contradicting as he isn’t sure McGregor will ever fight again, but at the same time he wanted to fight on December 30th. Maybe Dana is struggling to pick apart the mind of Conor McGregor as much as we are.

There are plenty of reasons why Conor should never come back.

Not only is he set for life but he’s also healthy. McGregor is extremely conscious about his health and has mentioned several times throughout his career about the importance of keeping your brain healthy.

But there are plenty of reasons why he should he come back.

He loves to fight and he loves making money. He needs to capitalize on that whilst he can.

McGregor doesn’t have to settle for one big payday, he has matchups waiting for him such as Ferguson, Diaz, and GSP. There is always the welterweight belt and his Croke Park dream. And the door is open for a return to boxing, especially with fighters like De La Hoya, Pacquiao, and Malignaggi calling him out.

He’s also at the peak in terms of age and physique and in terms of power. Where he has the whole MMA world on strings with every small move he makes.

There is no knowing if McGregor will ever fight again. If McGregor returns to his usual self, he will likely be back in the first quarter of 2018, where he will fight frequently. But as time ticks on and there is no fight announcement McGregor may be stripped of his belt never to be seen again.

He got in. He got rich. Is he out? Let us know.

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Manny Pacquiao Hints at Possible 2018 Fight with Conor McGregor



Here we go again. Just when we thought Conor McGregor was set on a return to the octagon, boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has seemingly called out the charismatic Irishman with his latest Instagram post.

It appears the current senator of the Philippines also wants a trip on the money train that is Conor McGregor, as he sent out this cryptic message on his Instagram.

Happy Thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma

A post shared by Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) on

The caption reads “Happy thanksgiving! Stay fit my friend. #realboxingmatch #2018 @thenotoriousmma”.

This comes a week after retired boxer Oscar De La Hoya claimed he has been secretly training for a bout with “The Notorious One.” Speaking on ‘Golden Boy Radio with Tattoo and the Crew’, De La Hoya claimed “I’m faster than ever and stronger than ever. I know I can take out Conor McGregor out in two rounds”.

After his most recent loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, retirement looked imminent for ‘Pac-Man’. But a shot at McGregor and the pay day his name brings, appears to be far too tempting.

McGregor loves to test himself and he loves money. So he will be licking his lips just thinking about the opportunity to get back in the ring against a high calibre opponent like Pacquiao. Not just to make money, but to prove his doubters wrong after his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather Jr.

McGregor’s immediate future looks set to be a fight with Tony Ferguson in 2018. But after that who knows what the future holds for the UFC lightweight champion.

If McGregor’s next fight is a boxing match with Pacquiao, then it could spell the end of his title reign. As Ferguson likes to say it’s ‘defend or vacate’ time.


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