They say 90-percent of the game is mental. Negative thoughts can cripple an athlete before they ever enter a competition. But self-doubt creeps into the minds of even the mentally strongest of people. Some quickly extinguish those negative thoughts, while others dwell on them.
What separates the elite athlete from those who never make it to the cusp is much more about mental approach than physical abilities. On Jan. 3, at UFC 182 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, two fighters that can’t fathom losing clash in the main event. Undefeated former Olympian Daniel Cormier challenges light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for the UFC 205-pound title.
“Absolutely not; absolutely not. I focus on victory in everything that I do,” said Jones when asked on Monday if losing ever enters his mind.
“I have not even thought about that for a second. I won’t accept that as my reality. I haven’t thought about that,” Cormier replied to the same question.
Even when preparing for worst-case scenarios during training camp, losing isn’t an option.
“You prepare for adversity. But how do you really prepare yourself to get knocked down, or to be stuck in a submission outside of what you do day-to-day,” said Cormier. “I don’t think I’ve really thought about that (losing). I think you have to stay positive in your training when you’re preparing for something so big.”
Outside of the fight ending in a rare draw, one of them will lose on Jan. 3. Both men are convinced it will be the other guy.