The Austrian Oak and The Nortious Irishman have a lot in common.
In sports many fans and pundits tend to focus on the physical aspect of a particular game. It’s true that sports require an athlete to perform on a physical level to prove they are superior to their opponents, but it’s not the only aspect of competition. The mental game is as important as any physical element of a given sport, maybe even more so. In sports like bodybuilding and mixed martial arts there have been two examples of athletes who were able to mesh both the superior physical gifts with a calculating and powerful mental game. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Conor McGregor may be two men from different walks of life as well as different eras, but the two athletes do share a great deal in common.
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If you’re a bodybuilding fan then there’s no way that you haven’t heard of the many exploits of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his competitive days. He wasn’t your average bodybuilder who simply trained hard and had belief in his abilities. When he went into a bodybuilding competition it was with the expressed intention to go to war with his fellow competitors. He didn’t simply want to win a competition, he wanted to destroy his rivals as well. The tactic he utilized? Mental Warfare. Arnold was adept at breaking down his opponent psychologically and then taking advantage of their exposed weakness. For Arnold every well executed plan was a true work of beauty and highlighted exactly what made him the powerhouse that he is today.
Like Arnold the brash Irishman Conor McGregor speaks his mind and dominates his opponents before ever throwing a punch. For anyone who doesn’t know, and at this point there’s no reason you shouldn’t, Conor McGregor is perhaps one of the UFC’s biggest stars. He has defeated opponent after opponent with some well placed left hands and a calculating attack.
So how exactly are McGregor and Schwarzenegger similar?
Both men utilized mental warfare to defeat their opponents before commencing the actual competition. McGregor pinpoints his opponent’s mental weakness and exploits it, pokes at, constantly breaking them down mentally until it’s time to get down to business. Schwarzenegger was much the same. Once it was time to take to the stage the time for talk was over. The damage had already been done. It’s why he’s considered to be the greatest bodybuilder of all time. It may be the reason that we end up saying the same about McGregor where mixed martial arts is concerned.
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Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his Twitter to keep up with his antics.