Certain fighters follow certain rituals before entering the ring or going onto the mats. This is no different from other athletes, singers or maybe even a gambler who would go online and bet on the outcome of a fight. Some warriors will relax by listening to music, while others will sleep. Also, having a routine offers them a sense of security that they might not have otherwise, given the number of unknown variables in combat. It may also provide them with the extra boost they require in the cage.
Another technique to alleviate pre-fight anxiety is to take a nap and attempt to attain total calm and serenity. This aids some people in achieving the Zen-like tranquilly they require. Many fighters utilise visualisation as a way to relieve anxiety before a battle. With visualisation, the athlete imagines themselves performing various tasks, particularly those encountered during the fight.
Many athletes use self-talk to block out negative ideas, utilising phrases of self-affirmation to create positive thoughts. Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer, is perhaps the most precise illustration of this. His steady self-assurance has undoubtedly aided him in becoming one of the all-time great heavyweights.
Before entering the ring, every mixed martial artist must endure numerous challenges. The life of a fighter necessitates a warrior’s discipline and mindset, from conditioning to be in the greatest physical shape possible to pushing hard during training. However, one of the essential battles a warrior must wage before entering the cage is with their own thoughts. Anyone might suffer from worry and fear before combat. They frequently manifest as a lack of confidence in your abilities and doubts about your potential to succeed. Mixed martial arts fighters, on the other hand, develop tactics and techniques to overcome these obstacles.
You may employ several meditation methods to handle pre-fight stress and anxiety, just as there are different breathing techniques you can add into your routine, so it may take some time to discover one that works for you. Meditation’s fundamental goal is to train your mind and achieve control over it. It will take just as much practise to master this as it does to master a choke hold. The majority of MMA fighters take a long time to overcome their fear of fighting. Expect to wait a long time for results because it takes a lot of blood, sweat, tears and time to get there. But keep in mind that no matter how much you plan and train, there’s a strong possibility you’ll never be completely free of anxiety, which is only human.
Let’s look at how UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal deals with pre-fight tension and gets focused come fight time.
“I’ve been doing this professionally for 16 years. You develop a lot of your mental toughness from how many training camps you have per year,” Masvidal tells InsideHook. “That’s why, right now, if I wanted to, I could run 30 miles. It wouldn’t be an issue. Because my head has been there so many times, I could run a marathon without training.” Instead of reading that as typical UFC arrogance, Masvidal implies that, while you can’t control external factors, the repetition and mental awareness you create by repeatedly putting yourself in strenuous, stressful situations will aid you in dealing with similar ordeals in the future.
You rehearse, reciting the words before giving a speech. You practise your pitch before meeting with a client. Do you, on the other hand, ever practice using stress-relieving techniques? It would be best if you began right away. “Him being worried for every fight is probably what caused him to not compete at his greatest,” Masvidal said of Donald Cerrone, who lost to Conor McGregor in 40 seconds and recounted his battle with nerves before the fight. “He could go to the gym every day, all day… but that was the one hurdle he didn’t seem to be able to overcome.” In summary, stress is an inevitable part of any undertaking and failing to prepare for it — whether through breathing, meditation, or other methods — means you’re likely to come off second best.
The toughness of MMA fighters is undeniable. Taking a punch to the face, a kick to the leg or the ability to fight back against any domination is a physical war in and of itself. It takes a lot of mental strength to know someone is trying to do any of those things to you and still practise for months with the belief that you can win in a proper fight.
But, because we are all human, we all fall into the same traps when we go through different difficult periods in our life. While some things may appear insignificant compared to others, everyone in life suffers their own types of battles. MMA fighters are forced to deal with the harsh realities that come with their professions: a physical fight inside the Octagon and a mental fight outside of it.