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Losing in MMA is a Learning Experience

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Losing in MMA or any high-level competition will never be an easy pill to swallow. After this past weekend’s UFC 259 event, Israel Adesanya cut one of the best promos for losing and learning in this sport. Adesanya lost a unanimous decision to light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowitzc and has dealt with it extremely well. He told fans to “Hop off the hype train if you want but the train hasn’t been derailed, we just stopping for gas” and this has to be one of the best ways an athlete has dealt with the devastation of losing in all of the professional competition.

Losing is Part of Life

Possibly the best example of losing in MMA and turning it into a lesson is when Dominick Cruz was beaten by Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207 for the bantamweight championship, he was devastated as he was convincingly beaten for the first time in 9 years and he returned backstage from the cage and instead of sitting in front of all the press, he stood and addressed everyone. When asked about how tough the loss was Cruz replied with this “What’s tough about it? Loss is part of life, if you don’t have a loss you don’t grow. This isn’t tough, this is life.”

LAS VEGAS, NV – DECEMBER 30: Dominick Cruz speaks to the media after the UFC 207 event inside T-Mobile Arena on December 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Dominick has since suffered a loss at the hands of Henry Cejudo but has rebounded against Casey Kenney at UFC 259. A frustrated Cruz had a big complaint about referee Keith Peterson for stopping the fight early in his opinion but has still looked back on the loss as a lesson despite the unfortunate event he saw as “A nice gift” for Cejudo. He has made accusations against Peterson though which many fans saw as very disrespectful and although there is no excusing that, his manner in defeat is in itself undefeated.

There are Better Things in Life than Losing

Heavyweight GOAT Stipe Miocic suffered an incredibly brutal loss to light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 226. Losing in MMA is not a strange thing for Miocic but at this level with everything on the line, it was very saddening to lose in such a dominant way. Stipe came backstage after the fight sporting some nasty cuts and proceeded to say the following “I get to go home to my beautiful wife and the sight of my child, it sucks but there are better things in life than losing. I wanna come back and rematch but for now, it’s DC’s day, good for him”

An incredible athlete who responded to his shortcomings in the best way possible, he has shown time and time again why he is the best and has learned from his losses. When rematching Daniel Cormier, he made the right adjustments to win and proved how big of a lesson loss can be. He is set to face another familiar foe in Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 and with it being someone he has already beat the lessons he has learned since should prove to be an incredible help in his path to victory.

Losing Happens, Every Great Champion Loses

A familiar example to last comes with the greatest flyweight of all time Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson. After his very close split decision loss to Henry Cejudo, he came to the post-fight presser with an upbeat attitude and said the following “Losing happens, every great champion loses, I lost to Dom I lose in the gym so I’m fine!” he also talked about the blessing that is his family and having the opportunity to fight TJ Dillashaw being stripped from him.

LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 04: (R-L) Demetrious Johnson punches Henry Cejudo in their UFC flyweight championship fight during the UFC 227 event inside Staples Center on August 4, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Being able to return home happy and healthy is all he could’ve asked for and as he said “This won’t affect me”. It certainly did not as he was transferred to ONE Championship where he would win the flyweight Grand Prix and is set to fight for the championship next. After defending his belt 12 times and then even winning such a big competition in his next organization, no argument losing in MMA has helped “Mighty Mouse” grow and helped him solidify himself as an all-time great.

Dare To Be Great

Possibly the best way to react to losing in MMA is by cutting a promo for the lessons you have learned. Israel Adesanya did just that after his UFC 259 light-heavyweight title loss to Jan Blachowitzc. He said in his post-fight interview “Dare to be great, you know the critics, the ones on the sideline but I’m the one putting it on the line”. He has shown in his kickboxing, boxing, and mixed martial arts career that losing in MMA is just showing room for improvement.

We know Israel has such an amazing talent and he combines that with hard work to produce amazing performances. His striking is next level and he also has an underrated grappling game. However, he still has to learn as every great has done before him. With a cemented place in the history books, Adesanya’s lesson in the loss will be sure to make that book dedicate a whole chapter towards him.

There are plenty of other fighters who have dealt with loss in MMA just as good as the athletes mentioned above but only a few have proved that they learned from their losses. Losing in MMA will forever be something for fighters to thrive off with its lessons and massive motivating factors.


That’s all from me! Follow me on Twitter @LeoJJohnson20 and follow @OTHeroicsMMA for more great content! And don’t forget our Instagram, overtimeheroics_mma. Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!

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