What the UFC Heavyweight Champion Can Teach You About Yourself.
This is Stipe Miocic, the UFC heavyweight champion.
This weekend he defended his belt for the third time against Francis Ngannou (below).
What is incredible about this feat is that in the 25-year history of the UFC not a single heavyweight has defended their belt three times. The full-time firefighter (yes he has a second full-time job he does for fun) from Cleveland did. With that Stipe becomes the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.
But how did he get to this point and what can it teach you?
Francis Ngannou fought just 7 fights (11 total minutes) in the UFC where he stopped every single opponent with either a knockout or submission before getting his crack at the title on Saturday night. In his most recent fight before the Stipe fight, Ngannou did this to Alistair Overeem, who is one of the most decorated fighters in combat sports.
The comparisons to Mike Tyson's punching power were immediate and in many ways much deserved.
So, in the lead up to Saturday night's fight, the rumblings were on how Stipe wouldn't last a single round, he was going to get killed, there was no way he could fend off the power of someone who can punch like Francis Ngannou. Make no mistake the first round of this five round fight was terrifying and you can watch some of it below.
But fighting, like in business, sometimes requires unflappable calm in the midst of a crisis in order to survive and later thrive because of that adversity. Ngannou has amazing punching power, but not much else, and if you learn one thing about fighting today it should be that well-rounded skills tend to win fights. With that, perhaps the most amazing statistics come from the output of both fighters:
What you can see is in the final three rounds Ngannou landed two punches, total. In fact, in round four he didn't land a single punch, not a single one. The man with one-punch knockout power landed 15 punches in the first round and just 6 in the final 20 minutes. Granted, the single punch in the third was devastating but Ngannou had nothing to follow it up with. In the fight world, he ran out of gas and ran out of his one skill.
What can you learn from this?
Here are three takeaways that you can implement today.
Believe in yourself. Success can vary from person to person, but the single factor that doesn't change in successful people is their belief in themselves. In fact, if you do not believe in your strengths it becomes simply impossible to win. Each one of us has a competitor or product that can threaten our way of life, our paycheck, or our overall stability if that monster is knocking down your backdoor and you think "there is no way I can do this," the monster never even has to make it inside because you just beat yourself up.
Skills win fights. Francis had one trick, a VERY good one - but just one. Maybe your competition is great at viral videos. Look at that issue from two places, one, do viral videos help sell your product? If no, move on and ignore number two. Two, can you be better than they are at viral videos? If not, keep videos as part of your marketing mix but lean into the things you are great at, email marketing, lead generation, social conversions, and combine a varied skill set to grow faster than being good in a single thing because that is much easier to combat than a well-rounded marketer. If you can be better...then be better.
Prepare for the marathon, not the sprint. The fight on Saturday was 25 minutes long, not three. As I said earlier Ngannou had only been in the octagon for a combined 11 minutes over the course of 7 fights. Which means he fought twice as long on Saturday night than he had his entire, albeit short, career in the UFC. You are preparing for a career, building a business, investing in a legacy, and none of those things are three minutes long either. You might have a bad round, a bad meeting, a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad year...but you have a long road ahead of you. Ready yourself for the long haul.
Each of us takes different types of punches in our professional life and we can respond in two ways. We can cower and move away from the confrontation which makes it harder to face the next monster who might be even bigger. Or, we can get up and ask, "is that all you got?"
Stipe Miocic was not undefeated before he won the belt, he learned from those losses and put together a strategy that today makes him the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. What better way to tell a story that emboldens you to get up and do it again until you win...then the hard work starts.