I was surprised to see McGregor get knocked out by Poirier this fast. But one thing that’s been bothering me about McGregor is that I don’t think he’s been picking the right sparring partners to prepare for this fight. None of his sparring partners really had the chops to seriously challenge him as much as he needed to be challenged.
And it reminded me of a principle I’ve been trying to put into practice myself for many years: the willingness to look foolish in the name of progress.
One of my all-time favorite clips showing humility in a world-class level is this one, where Joe Rogan shows GSP how to do a turning side kick. You’ve got one of the world’s best fighters, a living legend of martial arts, asking a podcaster to show him how to kick—and having that recorded and shared online.
To me, it’s so impressive to see this. It’s a great example of inner work in the context of martial arts. It prompted me to ask myself again: Are you putting yourself out there enough? Are you humble enough to seek advice in areas where you need it, are you willing to expose yourself and risk getting your ego bruised?
How tough is it really to look bad in the name of progress it’s really fucking tough. And how tough is it to look bad in the name of progress when you are a champion, a world superstar? I have no idea, but I imagined it to be, you know, just insanely difficult. Uh, just watch the McGregor, Dustin Poria to fight.
I was surprised. I didn’t see that coming. I mean, I could’ve seen Dustin winning this fight, um, but not in the fashion that he did not by knocking out comedy the second round. And I’ve had a thought that I wanted to share with people that I think is insightful, useful to anybody independently, if you’re in fighting or not.
Um, here’s one thing that bothered me about Connor. When I was watching his preparation for this fight. And not just for this fight, the sparring partners, the people that he would engage with in sparring, in training, the people that would challenge him, test him and his skillset, usually where nobody’s just local kids, local boxes that are on the up and coming.
I’m not doubting that these people are really talented and have a big heart, but I doubt that any of them could really challenge Conner or make Connor suffer and look bad. In those sparring and training sessions. I think that kind of always had this issue of in the early days in his ascent, in his rise, the crew that, that he was around was incredibly talented and they were all up in commerce.
They were all really like rising in their, in their careers. They were all getting to the UFC all, you know, on a winning streak. So I think the, the energy in the training room was different and Connor McGregor wasn’t Conor McGregor. He was just one of the other guys in the room. So. I would imagine that people felt even more comfortable to really push him to uncomfortable levels, make him look bad or foolish at times.
But now that he’s a global superstar. Now when you come in as a young up and coming kit, that’s poor, and this is kind of fucking McGregor that you’re sparring with. I don’t know. I don’t know. I wonder I. I guess that it does affect how hard you push them and how much you going to make him look like a fool.
This is not even the important point. The thing that this reminded me of was GSP George St. Pierre, one of the all-time greats, if not the old time grade, the number one. Kind of best to ever do it. We’re a huge fan of GSP. One thing that I admired about George St. Pierre, more than any other fighter that has ever competed in MMA boxing general, as far as I’m aware of was GSPs, willingness to look foolish in the name of progress, especially when he was already a global superstar, a champion, a legend.
This always amazed me. I mean, if you do your homework, if you do a little bit of research, even on YouTube, you can find sessions where GSP did not look great. Like he would bring in, first of all, his gym had maybe more competitive level of, um, A fighter talent at the time that he was the champion. But on top of it, look at what kind of spine partners or help he would bring into these, to his camps.
You know, he would bring in, um, these more tie in, I remember one can be brought in these two crews from Thailand. There were both lumping, he champions just bad ass motherfuckers, just really incredible more tie fighters. And he would bring them in and. Have him prepare? I think it was at the time against Condit because he wanted to have better, more tight for that fight.
But most high schools for that fight and they were pushing him and it times not mech making him look great in these sessions, they were making it uncomfortable for him, but there were elevating his skillset. I remember him, uh, you know, bringing in John Wayne Parr, uh, from Australia at another amazing muy Thai fighter kickboxer to prepare, I don’t remember who he brought him in to prepare for.
And dude, John Wayne part was putting it on GSP. He was making him look bad in some of these sessions, just incredible pressure. He was a, I mean, Joey Paul was a better kickboxer better boy, Ty photo than GSP. So we bring in these champions, these, these legends, these incredible people that did not care about GSP, they were not young wide eyed trying to make it in this business.
There were already, you know, Battle-tested legends in their own. Right. And they would come in and they would put it on GSP. They would pressure him. They would push him. Of course they try to help him. But the optic was not for him to look good during the camp. The object was for him to look good in the fight.
And he had an incredible humbleness, like this is, this is not easy to do to bring in people that will make you look bad when you’re this famous. When everybody in your gym thinks you’re the man, and then you you’re bringing in people that will make you seem foolish or weak or, you know, slow or whatever.
Like incredible. Well, I even remember, I watch a video once was for some fighting gear promotion where GSP went, went there and there was some, Kickbox a really good kickboxer. Can remember his name. Um, and then we’re doing a little, like a kickboxing sparring session in front of everybody. And the dude made GSP look bad, slow, foolish.
Again, GSP was an MMA fighter, right? He was not a pure kickboxer. So when fighting against kickboxing champions that were incredible, he didn’t look amazing at times he didn’t care. He had a sweetness and a humbleness about it and. A willingness to expose that side of him that I think, I mean, it’s just inspiring.
And it is, to me, one of many reasons why he was able to maintain an incredible level during his championship reign during his career, he didn’t just win the title. He defended it so many times against incredible position. And then he was gone for a number of years. He came back and he got another title in another weight class, which is very hard to do an MME, but throughout it.
He always maintained a humbleness and a hunger and a willingness to look foolish in the name of progress. Right. I mean, GSP would go and grapple at the blue basement, you know, and hands those hands of Gracie’s in New York and grapple against just beasts. And again, I can’t imagine him. I don’t, I haven’t seen footage, but I can’t imagine him in the blue basement.
You can’t look great if you’re not. If you’re not at the top of the digital world, if digital is not what you do, like 24, seven, seven days a week, you’re not going to look great in that room. You’re going to suffer in that room. People are going to make you look bad at times because these people are better at grappling, better Juju than you, right?
No matter if you were an MMA champ or not. So just the kind of people that GSP would bring into his life. And into these camps. And I mean, even I remember when he went, um, and asked Joe Rogan to teach him the spinning back. And again, this doesn’t seem like a big deal. So what you’re on a podcast you’re being interviewed by this, the school dude.
And you ask him to teach you a specific technique. Just consider this again. At that time, GSP is the UFC champion. He’s seen worldwide, worldwide wide as the best fighter in the world. And Joe Rogan is a fucking comedian and a podcaster, right? Yes, of course he has also trained, but it’s not a UFC champ. It wasn’t even an MMA fighter ever in his life.
Right. And the humbleness, it requires for you to say, Hey you, Mr. Interviewer podcast, can you teach me? At technique in this domain where I am a worldwide celebrity superstar. It’s incredible. And then not just did he do that? I mean, honestly, I can imagine that I would have done that. I’m a little bit humble, but he’s the next thing I can’t imagine doing this thing that blows my mind.
Honestly, he allowed Joe Rogan’s friend, Eddie Bravo to video record the session where Joe Rogan is teaching GSP. You know, the, the, that kicking technique. And of course, Joe Rogan looks a million times better than GSP. Joe Rogan’s kicks look amazing, and GSB is like a beginner. That’s trying to do it. Right.
And he had no problem that that session was recorded and uploaded.
That’s not easy kids. This is not, this is not a simple thing. This is not something you can find. Okay. I dare you. Show me another UFC champion that had overall five title defenses and where you can point me to a YouTube video where some random person is teaching them a technique and they don’t look particularly amazing while they’re learning that technique.
I CA I can’t think of anybody else. Anyone else that I’ve seen that I’ve seen as much footage of looking foolish in the name of progress, looking a little dumb, look, a little slow, bringing people that make him look bad, but help him become better. No matter how good he is. That to me was GSPs biggest asset.
Once he became a champion to get to the championship. It was, his body was his timing, was his, you know, shoot a box wrestling. It was many, many things I’m sure. But once he was a champion, maintaining that level, his humbleness, his mentality all the way up to fight night, just second to none and not compare this with Connor.
For all the love that I have for Connor McGregor. And he is an amazing human being entertaining as fuck. And I was in awe and excited and inspired seeing his ascendancy to championship. It was just something we hold off those, whatever it was two year period three-year period was just so much fun, so inspiring.
So awesome. He’s a dope, incredible human being. But when you, when I look at Connor, he doesn’t strike me as the guy that. Was comfortable bringing in people that would put it on him because anytime you see Connor gets pressured a little bit. He collapses comedy is probably the best pressure fighter in the first three minutes of a fight.
Like he, his timing, his accuracy, his distance is on immediately. And he’s incredible creating this intense pressure very, very quickly. He’s an artist at that, but if you don’t fold under the pressure. Mentally his diminished. And if you put a little bit of pressure onto him, he instantly collapses. I have to assume that’s because he’s not used to this kind of pressure.
I’m not saying he’s not working hard. I’m not saying he’s not pushing himself, but he’s not used to looking bad. And I’m certain that it’s inspiring sessions in his training camps for these fights. Nobody makes him look foolish. Nobody looks, makes him look bad and nobody’s putting the pressure on him.
And so when it happens in a fight, he’s not prepared for it. He doesn’t know how to deal with it. And he is stuck admitted, which is something that I loved about GSP in all of his career. He never stagnated. He always, he changed his game. Right after it was knocked out and that huge upset from Matt Serra, he changed the way he fought.
He adjusted his game. He evolved, he had a real evolution, which is difficult to do again. It’s easy to say this, but it’s so hard to do when you at the pinnacle, at the peak, at the top to keep evolving is harder than when you’re the beginning. Nobody’s looking. Think about this. All right. I’ll ask you like a simple mine experiment.
If you had to learn. How to do a certain dance. Good. Some dance moves that you’re not really great at, let’s say right, you have to learn the Salta or man. Well, maybe Salta is a bad example because you have to do that with somebody else, some fucking dancing routine, right? What is easier learning that dancing routine and maybe watching some videos and trying it and practicing it at home alone.
At first. Right. And until you get a little comfortable, you kind of understand how it’s going. Is that easier to get started? What do you think it’s easier to go on a stage with 10,000 people watching you while you are now learning these new moves and this new dance. What are those two scenarios? Do you believe would be easier and what would be harder?
Exactly. And that’s what it must feel like when you’re the champion and you’re putting together camps. And now you have the problem that when you want to learn new skills or really expose a weakness of yours and fix it, that you would have to look tremendously bad in front of lots of people in front of people that will tweet that will shift stories, whatever it is, even in front of yourself.
Now you’re the man, you’re the champ. So seeing yourself struggle day in, day out, that’s not for everybody. I think that Connor is somebody that as he was successful, that was giving him incredible self-belief. So that was kind of the spiral up. The more success he had in these training sessions, when his gym the better, it wasn’t the fights, but it wasn’t the fights, but it wasn’t the training gym, the more his belief just build and build and build.
And eventually he thought he was invincible. But once that spell was gone, He was very beatable. I mean, similar to him, like Mike Tyson, everybody was like defeated. Before we even go into the ring. Mike Tyson was kind of a destroyer of worlds until he got knocked out. And then my Tyson didn’t even believe that he is a God.
And all of a sudden his opponents didn’t believe he’s an unbeatable God and boom. All of a sudden he was beaten. And Mike has had a similar problem where he loved to be the bully. And it was an amazing, probably the best bully ever in boxing. But if he didn’t get you out there and if you didn’t seem intimidated, He was collapsing.
He was giving up. Right. So what do we learn from all of this? Well, I don’t know. Um, I think the best question we can ask ourselves is most of us aren’t UFC champions is do I make myself look foolish in the name of progress? And do I continue to, what does it maybe an area of your life, where you used to be putting yourself out there more, you used to be seeking advice or coaching or exposure in areas where make you feel uncomfortable or a little foolish and goofy in front of others and were bruising your ego and just ask yourself, when was the last time I’ve experienced that?
When was the last time I was humbled, especially in an era where you’re already good at, especially in an area that you’ve established yourself in an area where you have accomplished. A bunch where your ego feels safe, where you are competent. What was the last time I’ve done something that was risking that area that really challenged me.
And if you can think of a reason to example of this, maybe now’s the time to learn from GSP and make sure that looking foolish while in training camp so that you can look brilliant while in the real fight. Is a formula that’s very difficult to do, but would benefit a lot of us, especially as we are more successful in life, most successful in our career, and maybe seeking to keep evolving and growing versus stagnating.