Scott Jorgensen: Mental Toughness

UFC bantamweight Scott Jorgensen has fought some of the best the division has to offer and won more often than not. The same will be true this weekend when “Young Guns” faces Urijah Faber at the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale where he’ll have to show the same toughness he’s exhibited in past efforts.

Jorgensen recently spoke to the UFC’s website about how he approaches competition from a mental perspective, giving some tips on how to be tough in that regard…

#1 Keep Your Eye on the Prize

“Urijah and I both knew this day was coming, and we’re not going to let friendship get in the way. Afterwards, we’ll pick up where we left off.”

“Fighters have such a good ability to turn the switch on and off,” says Andy Hennebelle, NASM-CPT, CSCS, USAW, a strength coach at the UFC Gym in Corona, Calif. “Those fighters who can drown out the outside environment and prevent themselves from being bombarded by variables are typically the fighters who are more successful.”

The same is true for you in your goals. So recite your bigger goal to yourself every day and whenever something seems tough. Suddenly, turning down a fatty snack or powering through a grueling workout will feel like a milestone instead of an impossibility.

#2. Set Realistic Goals

Whether you want to score your first win on the amateur circuit or capture your first UFC title, give yourself multiple goals to shoot for. “I set goals in increments. For reference, let’s start with a five-year goal as our final goal. Then there’s also a different set of four-, three-, two-, and one-year goals that all serve as steps toward that final five-year goal.”

#3. Be Prepared for Opportunity

“I’m a couple good wins away from a title shot, so I’ll take any fight I can get. A fighter only has so long to compete, so short notice isn’t too bad, especially if you’re already in shape.”

#4. Find An Escape

“The more I dwell on something, the more stress builds. For me, training is training. That’s when it’s time to think about a game plan; when practice ends, I want to go home and focus on me to make sure that I’m happy and mentally ready. Another outlet for me is my son. I’m often bouncing from my practice to one of his practices and right back to another one of my practices. That might sound chaotic, but it breaks my train of thought so I’m not constantly thinking about fighting.”

#5. Bounce Back

“I think I went the first two months wrestling in college without scoring a takedown,” Jorgensen says — and look how his grappling career turned out. “Nobody was babied; I built a strong mental attitude. It was the school of hard knocks. Ihave never looked for an easy way.”

You’re going to have off days. But it’s how you rebound that determines whether you’ll excel or expire. “When sh*t gets tough, I get tougher,” he reveals. “Just because you had a bad day doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world; refocus and come back ready to succeed. When you get to the UFC, it’s sink or swim. There is no easy day because we all want to be champion. Nobody just wants to be a fighter.”

#6. Be Prepared To Put In Overtime

While obsessing over training flaws can be detrimental, putting in extra effort isn’t. “When I was coaching wresting camps I told kids, ‘If you want to be the best, put in extra.’ Just because practice ends doesn’t mean you have to go home. You can hit a couple extra sprints, pull-ups, or drills for another half hour. That extra time puts you above the competition.”

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