Conor McGregor = No Talent

by Zayd Diz

In the wake of UFC mixed martial artist fighter,  Conor McGregor’s exclamation  that he has not an ounce of talent and that talent  ceased to exist in the wild world of sports. This statement was born after he was bestowed the title of UFC Mixed Martial Artist Champion. This statement has sparked some heavy discussion. The main question that is hovering atop many of his fans and UFC lovers minds is why? How does that make any sense? Of course he is talented and he has a unique gift and skill for fighting many would argue , but I am here to tell you that Connor McGregor’s acclimation, of him having zero talent is 100% true. There are three reasons why his claim makes sense. The first being “talent” is immensely hard work, everyday without rest, even if the pain is rough. The second being phenomenal opportunity that you need to have to get to the top. Garnering unique chances that no one else has ever dreamed of doing. The very last reason, is how you, yourself should be able to enjoy the activity or sport that you do and how no one else can give you motivation to practice than yourself.  Taking that extra bit of initiative to get up and put yourself out there. These reasons are what make up the word talent.

The first and foremost reason backing this argument is, as he mentioned “There is no talent, this is hard work” he later added “ You could be anyone if you put in the time”.  This is true. Why you might ask? According the to award winning author and gold medal Olympian, Matthew Syed who wrote the critically acclaimed book Bounce, you are not just born with supernatural abilities that are embedded in your genes that allow you to whatever the task you want, or make you exceptional at anything he writes. It is mostly hard work. In Bounce he explained his own journey to becoming the top table tennis player in England. Going to a training centre from early in the morning to late at night. Practicing his skills and tricks, undertaking new moves each possibly slightly more demanding . Not being afraid to try. Then later going home to practice again with his brother on their own ping pong table. Syed had put in immense hours of gruelling work and practice days and days to weeks and weeks on end, without complaint, because Matthew Syed knew that this was the only way to improve and grow as a player.

This is precisely what Conor McGregor had accomplished to gain his championship status. He was in no manner born with genes already bred and prepped for fighting mixed martial arts. This is a simply unattainable aspect. However, he trained many a day and for hours and hours on end in his training gym. Entering the training centre from when the sun was just peering over the horizon to just about when it hid away behind it. Conor had even requested and begged his coach to keep the center/gym open during the night and insisted that he hold a key so that as he choses he may access the gym.  His coach then finally realized that the idea was not such brash one, so he proceeded with his offer. Conor, would practice his sparring skills, but also working his arms and legs and building strength to amend his abilities. Working with a coach who himself has constantly been prominent in recognizing and being known as an instrumental advisor in bringing forth   the best MMA fighters. Conor has never shied away from practicing techniques of new caliber and even continuing to apply those new styles, that were each slightly more complex, on to his fighting structure. He did not complain either even through all the pain and aching of his bones he would have endured, because he knew this was the only way to get better and work toward achieving his personal best and improving his skill for actual arena fights. Though, unfortunately he ended up wanting to center his focus on his fighting career so immeasurably, by dropping out of high school. He quoted “I had no use for it. My mom told me I had the intellect for academia, but I didn’t have the interest”. Though how would Conor garner a fighting contract? Who would be there to support him up? This leads right into the next supporting piece.

Conor McGregor had to have had enormous opportunities to have gotten to where he is today. As Matthew Syed also mentions in Bounce that as a child he had many a opportunity that hardly any other child had graciously received and were lucky to have. For one he said he had a table tennis table, which hardly any other kid had in England. Of course there were the unaccustomed reasons of houses being almost miniature in size, and a tournament grade table being far to expensive. He also, within his neighbourhood borders he attended a training centre, by the name of Omega. It was more run down than anything in the world, it would seem. Within it just one table tennis table. No membership was needed, only keys were needed and  given to all the kids to go and play and practice whenever they liked. Aside from the sport itself, Syed would have a coach at his school that would be a tremendous table tennis fanatic. He would always ensure that every student of his had the up most perfect technique and ability  in the sport. This coach could teach not one other sport, if he didn’t have to. Lastly, Syed had an elder  brother who did not find, practicing with him a burden on his head and shoulders. His brother would enjoy to hang out with him in their garage trying out new techniques on each other, laughing and enthralled in each others company and not being afraid to mess up and razz each other and simply focus on being brothers.

Syed’s  opportunity was unique. Not every other kid that lived within the area,  had these three aspects. It gave him a higher edge of succeeding everyone else who as well had the exact same aspirations.

The Williams sisters had opportunity much like Syed’s. Their father had gotten the attention of a tennis super star Rick Macci to attend to their home in Compton, California from the east coast city of Miami, Florida, to come and train the sisters and judge their ability , Venus and Serena day in and day out, and help improve and build upon their base ability.

As for Conor McGregor, to get to become a prime member of UFC and one of the most promising UFC mixed martial artists out there, took more than you might’ve never thought about before. For one of his unique opportunities,  he got the chance to meet with a professional to be  UFC champion whom actually spared with him and inspired him into indulge and dive right into the animalistic realm of mixed martial arts and professional fighting, when Conor was a just mere boy. No child who wants to become a professional UFC fighter can say that they have been able to spar with a real professional fighter at a young age, could say they had a chance to do so, with a to be champion . A second irreplaceable opportunity that he garnered was, after he was discovered and just around the time when he was still fighting at a novice  level he began to train at a gym in  Dublin, Ireland by the title of Straight Blast Gym. Though when he began his training he was not working with any conventional coach. Instead he was receiving his guidance from a fellow Irishman, whom was an actor and a UFC coach, by the name of John Kavanagh, who had constantly produced the best of the best. This singular opportunity is fairly similar to that of Syed’s. Syeds coach was also of the same mind. John had been so focused on producing the best of the best, and cared for nothing more in his long life than the wondrous sport of  table tennis. Not a single other, person in their early twenties who wants to mature into a professional fighter, who as also dropped out of receiving a prime education, would ever dream to have a chance to train with a rewound actor and MMA trainer who is known across for training all the top fighters.  This is a concept that is beyond any other persons chance, or would be quite intricate for any other person to achieve.  A third unique opportunity that Conor McGregor had garnered is that when he and his family had moved to the city of Lucan, just outside the capital of Ireland, Dublin his desire of football began to fade and he gravitated more into kickboxing and he eventually took up an opportunity to attend a kickboxing gym and he  began to take classes in martial arts. He began to hone in his focus and love for this. This particular sport, was not one that many Irish boys his age would seem to find deep enjoyment that had Conor had found in it. Since the move to Lucan was hard on him, this new found love had given him a found happiness. Nearly every week he would go and take as many classes as he could, so he could constantly work on improving his skill, much like Matthew Syed had done in his training centre in his neighbourhood. In this opportunity, since  his parents had to move their life to Lucan, this opportunity  almost was a type of blessing. If the move wasn’t made and the course of events had shifted in another direction and in another ones favour , he would have never found his future love, career in mixed martial arts, he would have wanted to become a football player instead and all of he would have never made it because he would  not have been  motivated, to practice.  No one would have known who Conor McGregor was because he wouldn’t have become what he is today. This leads right  into the next point.

The final reason of why his statement makes sense is that you need to or should enjoy the activity that you want to major in, or else the real question is, what’s the point? You need to have a sense of dedication.  If you enjoy the activity than you should be able to get yourself out there and enjoy your practice time, and find solace in it. Within the novel Bounce Matthew Syed had talked about the stories of Serena and Venus Williams and how when they were kids and since birth, their parents had introduced them to tennis when they were at a tender age. They had taken into the liking of the sport so much that the sisters had constantly been out on the court everyday bright and early practicing hitting balls over the net and rallying with each other, even before their father was up to study their practice and coach them through.  The Williams sisters had taken it upon themselves to go and begin practice each day, simply because they found a deep enjoyment in their activity. They wanted to practice their sport. They were dedicated. Their father and mother didn’t need to tell them to go down out to the tennis court and practice their skills everyday. Tennis was not a mere chore they needed accomplished, to receive an allowance and favour from their parents.

As for Conor McGregor his first intention was a bit of a different story from the other greats, at first.  His desire was to become a football (soccer) player as this sport had sparked his interest at a very young age.  This was his dream, this was his determination. Though like was written before in the previous section that of his move to Lucan with his family had changed his perspective on what he wanted to become. After discovering the kickboxing studio and learning jiu jitsu, his interest in attending the soccer club in Lucan had faded into dust.  He no longer found determination in practicing soccer. He felt as if it was a chore and that his brain was forcing him to do it. He simply became the five letter word that stands for lack of enjoyment. Bored.  But he then later centered his focus around mixed martial arts fighting and his determination, and initiative to practice had shifted to this activity. He no longer found as if he was completing a chore for his brain to be satisfied and for him to feel good. Conor McGregor had become quite motivated and moved to practice. He got up every day and night to practice with enthusiasm and with a sense of exhilaration. He didn’t whine and grumble about having to practice.  As for football (soccer) he didn’t want to feel the way he did anymore, bored. So he changed his interest, which lead him down a better path, a path that would lead him down a road that would become his beloved career.

Now let me ask you. Is Conor McGregor really talented?