Fear is our body’s natural response to physical and emotional danger and without it, we would never protect ourselves from any legitimate threats that may be present. Therefore, it is perfectly natural to experience pre-fight nerves and find yourself more anxious than usual in the run up to a fight. At Fightlab, we know that fear is a fighter’s friend and learning to harness it correctly can lead to devastating results… for your opponent. That’s why we’ve compiled this easy-to-reference list of 5 steps that you should try and adhere to before all of your fights:
1. Nail your preparation You know in yourself if your preparation for an upcoming fight has been good enough or not. Self-doubt caused by poor preparation will heighten your fear. Knowing that you have prepared to the very best of your abilities will ultimately ease your pre-fight anxiety.
2. Accept the inevitable You are going to be involved in an intense MMA fight with an opponent who is as tough as anyone you’ve faced. That’s the reality and there’s nothing you can do to change that. Therefore, accept that that’s the case and focus on winning. It’s no good thinking, what if?
3. Put all the trash talk behind you The lead up to a fight can be embroiled in trash talk and one-upmanship between you and your opponent. But, on the day of the fight, you need to put all that BS behind you and concentrate. Don’t focus on how much you hate your opponent. Focus on how awesome you are going to be in the ring once the bell sounds.
4. Take a deep breath Sounds obvious, but taking a big, deep breath fills your blood with oxygen allowing more to be distributed to your brain, which will help calm your nerves and lead to more precise focus.
5. Remain positive If you talk yourself down and slip into a negative mindset then your chances of victory will diminish. That’s why it’s important to remain totally positive before a fight and keep telling yourself that you are going to kick some ass. Focus on every positive aspect and ignore the negative ones.
For us, this quote from Muhammed Ali says it all: "The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses - behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights."