Born as “Cassius Clay” in 1942, Muhammad Ali went on to become a cultural icon, civil rights titan, Olympic gold medalist, and 3-time heavyweight boxing champion. Who else besides Muhammad Ali could possibly live up to the nickname, The Greatest?”
Muhammad Ali is well known for his trash-talking and witty rhymes and poems before fights with boxing greats like Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston, and George Foreman. However, he also gave us famous motivational quotes about life, success, defeat, and being a champion that are already timeless.
Muhammad Ali: Motivation & Inspirational Quotes
• “What you’re thinking is what you’re becoming.” – Muhammad Ali
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
“You don’t have to be in a boxing ring to be a great fighter. As long as you are true to yourself, you will succeed in your fight for that in which you believe.” – Muhammad Ali
• “I’ve never let anyone talk me into not believing in myself.”
• “A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing.”
• “Champions are made from something they have deep inside them; a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”
• “It’s funny, but those who hate me the most sometimes inspire me the most.”
• “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
• “What keeps me going is goals.”
“If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it – then I can achieve it.” – Jesse Jackson quote also said by Muhammad Ali.
• “I am an ordinary man who worked hard to develop the talent I was given. I believed in myself, and I believe in the goodness of others.”
Muhammad Ali Quote: Impossible is Nothing
• “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
“Impossible is nothing” Muhammad Ali Adidas commercial:
• “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If not, pretend you are.”
• “We can’t be brave without fear.”
• “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”
• “The critics only made me work harder.”
• “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”
• “We spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning how to make a life.”
• “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”
• “Each time I thought I had achieved my ‘life’s purpose,’ I discovered it was only another step in my journey”
• “The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.”
• “Others may know pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.”
“Truly great people in history never wanted to be great for themselves. All they wanted was the chance to do good for others and be close to God.”
• “Recognize how every moment of our journey is an important part of the growth of our soul.”
• “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
• “Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
• “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
“Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”
“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”
• “Don’t count the days; make the days count.”
• “Life is a gamble. You can get hurt, but people die in plane crashes, lose their arms and legs in car accidents; people die every day. Same with fighters: some die, some get hurt, some go on. You just don’t let yourself believe it will happen to you.”
Muhammad Ali Quotes: Boxing & Training
• “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”
Float Like a Butterfly Quote:
“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see. Now you see me, now you don’t. George thinks he will, but I know he won’t.” – Muhammad Ali
• “Champions aren’t made in gyms.”
• “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
• “I do everything to make the fight come out my way, but if I’m defeated I have to get up and come back again, no matter how humiliating the loss.”
“I Am the Greatest!” Quotes + Trash Talk
• “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
“I’m so fast that last night I turned off the light switch in my hotel room and was in bed before the room was dark.”
• “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”
• “I’m not the greatest, I’m the double greatest.”
• “I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.”
• “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
• “I’ve seen George Foreman shadow boxing, and the shadow won.”
• “I’m young; I’m handsome; I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”
• “My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.”
• “I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”
Muhammad Ali: Vietnam quote
• “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause… In my mind, the losers are those who don’t have a cause they care about.” – Muhammad Ali
When asked about being drafted for the Viet Nam war, Muhammad Ali is famously quoted as saying, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.” He is also quoted later as saying, “no Viet Cong ever called me n*gger!“
Here’s what Muhammad Ali said about being drafted for the Viet Nam war:
“Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on other innocent Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?
No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over.
This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality.
If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.”Muhammad Ali
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