At a certain point, you have to wonder if Conor McGregor actually knows something we don't.
In July 2015, Bleacher Report's Jeremy Botter published an article detailing McGregor's mental foundations – and the results had many whistling and twirling a finger around their ears.
The Irish sensation fully buys into The Secret, a 2006 movie-turned-book by Rhonda Byrne that discusses the law of attraction and the power of a positive mental attitude. The application was, to a skeptic, a little cuckoo.
During a typical trip to the store, McGregor said, he would envision getting a front-row parking spot. He'd repeat the payoff in his head – "A front row spot awaits. A front row spot awaits." – over, and over, and over during the drive. He would inevitably park in the front row.
Inside the cage, McGregor's penchant for prophecy remains strong. Well before he arrived in the UFC, McGregor proclaimed he'd soon fight inside the legendary Octagon. In April 2013, UFC President Dana White rolled out a front-row parking spot in the UFC's featherweight division, welcoming him to the grandest show in MMA.
He arrived. But many regional-level fighters and MMA dreamers set their sights on the UFC. It's the obvious target for those looking to make a splash on the highest level. With McGregor, however, one just can't help but detect something a little different in the delivery of these declarations. McGregor isn't trying to convince himself of anything – he's already sure.
Once in the UFC, the trend continued. Bruce Buffer knows about it. Diego Brandao knows about it. Now, after McGregor dispatched of longtime UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194, it might be time we know about it, too.
UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is certainly on board.
"There’s not much to say about Conor," Cormier said on the UFC 194 post-fight show on Fox Sports 1. "The guy calls his shot. He goes in with his belief that he’s going to win. His power, precision and the movement. He got the knockout tonight. This is now the Conor McGregor norm. He knows what he’s doing, putting in the work. I know after tonight, no doubt everything he says is truth in his mind."
And it wouldn't be so damn strange if McGregor wasn't doing this in one of the most fickle, volatile and downright unpredictable sports on earth. One slip, one miscalculation, one ill-timed strike, and poof! There goes the victory and your consciousness with it (just ask Aldo).
Something is just different with McGregor. Before his UFC 178 showdown against Dustin Poirier, "The Notorious" proclaimed his opponent's chin was "deteriorating." Against a striker of his merit, McGregor asserted, this simply would not do.
"It's going to be a first-round KO. Mark my words," McGregor said. One hundred and six seconds into their scrap, McGregor proved himself right.
The evaluation hits a new level of weird when McGregor starts to predict
tings things over which he has no direct control. He predicted Aldo would pull out of their scheduled bout at UFC 189. Aldo suffered a rib injury and never made it to the cage on fight night.
The Brazilian then-champion was replaced by Chad Mendes, the Team Alpha Male product known for his powerful, explosive hands and takedowns. In a pre-fight conference call, McGregor predicted Mendes' body would be "screaming for oxygen" and soon after his pinpoint striking would take center stage and shine.
"You want to know how confident this kid is?" Dana White revealed. "He told [UFC CEO] Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I, 'I'll bet you $3 million I knock him [Mendes] out in the second round.'"
With three seconds left in the the fight's second frame, McGregor sealed his TKO victory over a noticeably gassed Mendes.
What started as a questionable self-help-driven line of thinking slowly morphs into reality as McGregor continues to talk. The iconic soundbite – "I predict these things" – isn't such a novelty when he keeps, well, predicting these things.
And still...One can't help but realize The Secret is really just the crossroads of talent, hard work and self-belief. McGregor owns all three in abundance. The front row parking spot, after all, can't exist without a shopping center and a paved plot of land with lines drawn on it.
"Mystic Mac" misfires from time to time – he said he'd take care of Dennis Siver in "under two minutes," but his psychic abilities were off by about five minutes in that example. It's because there's no secret and there's no human on earth who can consistently and accurately predict the future.
It's fun to watch these predictions come true, and there's something to be said for McGregor's eerily accurate track record, but at the heart of it all there's one thing: a supremely talented Irishman with the mind, body and spirit of a fighter, putting in the time to craft his skillset for combat inside the eight-walled cage.
After watching him end Aldo's near-10-year undefeated streak with a single flick of fist, it's safe to say that's enough. There's no need to get all supernatural about it.
The Secret is out.