140 Muhammad Ali Quotes on Being a Champion in Life

These Muhammad Ali quotes we’ve gathered will make you believe in yourself and show you the path you need to take to achieve greatness.

Muhammad Ali is considered to be one of the greatest boxers who ever lived. He was everybody’s champion, and he left an undeniable impression on every boxing fan. He was widely known for his great strength and exemplary service to humanity.

There’s no doubt that people worldwide, whether they’re boxing fans or not, still remember him even years after his death. To remember his legacy, make sure you read through this collection of his best and wisest words.

Let’s start here.

And don’t forget to check out these Mike Tyson quotes and Malcolm X quotes.

Best Muhammad Ali Quotes

1. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”

2. “Don’t count the days. Make the days count.”

3. “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.”

4. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

5. “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.”

6. “I don’t count my sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.”

7. “There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.”

8. “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.”

9. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”

10. “The man who has no imagination has no wings.”

11. “The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.”

12. “Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.”

13. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.”

14. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Famous Muhammad Ali Quotes

15. “Braggin’ is when a person says something and can’t do it. I do what I say.”

16. “I’m young. I’m handsome. I’m fast. I can’t possibly be beat.”

17. “We can’t be brave without fear.” 

18. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”

19. “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at twenty has wasted 30 years of his life.”

20. “I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.”

21. “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

22. “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.”

23. “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

24. “Live every day as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.”

25. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”

26. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”

27. “I try not to speak about all the charities and people I help because I believe we can only be truly generous when we expect nothing in return.”

28. “The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God.”

29. “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

Inspirational Muhammad Ali Quotes

30. “What you’re thinking is what you’re becoming.”

31. “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.”

32. “My only fault is that I don’t realize how great I really am.”

33. “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.”

34. “Put yourself out on a limb, like me!”

35. “Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning.”

36. “Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.”

37. “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If not, pretend you are.”

38. “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.”

39. “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.”

40. “No one starts out on top. You have to work your way up.”

41. “Recognize how every moment of our journey is an important part of the growth of our soul.”

42. “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.”

43. “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.”

44. “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.”

Muhammad Ali Quotes on Being a Champion and Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

45. “Champions aren’t made in gyms.”

46. “Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.”

47. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

48. “I know I can learn to hit without getting hit.”

49. “I should be a postage stamp. That’s the only way I’ll ever get licked.”

50. “What keeps me going is goals.”

51. “My principles are more important than the money or my title.”

52. “I’ve never let anyone talk me into not believing in myself.”

53. “I’m no leader. I’m a little, humble follower.”

54. “When you want to talk about who made me, you talk to me. Who made me, is me.” 

55. “The critics only made me work harder.”

56. “My wealth is in my knowledge of self, love, and spirituality.”

57. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”

58. “Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain.”

59. “His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”

Insightful Muhammad Ali Quotes on His Thoughts and Beliefs

60. “Rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams—they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do—they all contain truths.”

61. “You lose nothing when fighting for a cause.” 

62. “I’m the most recognized and loved man that ever lived cuz there weren’t any satellites when Jesus and Moses were around, so people far away in the villages didn’t know about them.”

63. “If you lose a big fight, it will worry you all of your life. It will plague you—until you get your revenge.”

64. “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.”

65. “I believe in the religion of Islam. I believe in Allah and peace.”

66. “It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

67. “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.”

68. “All I can do is fight for truth and justice. I can’t save anybody. He’s a science fiction character, and I’m a real character.”

69. “When you can whip any man in the world, you never know peace.”

70. “It’s funny, but those who hate me the most sometimes inspire me the most.”

71. “I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me, but rude to a waiter because they would treat me the same if I were in that position.”

72. “I’m the greatest thing that ever lived! I’m the king of the world! I’m a bad man. I’m the prettiest thing that ever lived.”

73. “The word ‘Islam’ means ‘peace.’ The word ‘Muslim’ means ‘one who surrenders to God.’ But the press makes us seem like haters.”

74. “Christians are my brothers, Hindus are my brothers. All of them are my brothers. We just think different and believe different.”

Wise Muhammad Ali Quotes Filled With Life Lessons

75. “Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold, but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold.”

76. “It takes pride and tiger’s drive to build up the confidence, the ego the power to defeat an opponent in the ring.”

77. “Others may know pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.”

78. “Think well of all, be patient with all, and try to find the good in all.”

79. “When we devote all of our actions to a spiritual goal, everything that we do becomes a prayer.”

80. “We spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning how to make a life.”

81. “There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people.”

82. “Life is so, so short. The Bible says it’s like a vapor.”

83. “To be able to give away riches is mandatory if you wish to possess them. This is the only way that you will be truly rich.”

84. “Friendship is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.”

Muhammad Ali Quotes About His Career in Boxing

85. “I calculate that I took 20,000 punches, but I earned millions and kept a lot of it. I may talk slow, but my mind is okay.”

86. “I murdered a rock, injured a stone, hospitalized a brick. I’m so mean I make medicine sick.”

87. “Too many easy victories can ruin a fighter just as much as a long line of defeats.”

88. “The name Muhammad is the most common name in the world. In all the countries around the world—Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon—there are more Muhammads than anything else. When I joined the Nation of Islam and became a Muslim, they gave me the most famous name because I was the champ.”

89. “I may have been the best fighter, but I was also the poorest. I had never been able to afford a first-class mouthpiece to protect my teeth. I had to wait until other fighters finished so I could borrow their headgear, or their trunk or bandages.”

90. “I don’t get hit. I’m the fastest thing on two feet, man!”

91. “It’s in my blood to be around people while I was training.”

92. “It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.”

93. “I never thought of losing, but now that it’s happened, the only thing is to do it right. That’s my obligation to all the people who believe in me. We all have to take defeats in life.”

94. “Boxing is a lot of white men watching two black men beat each other up.”

95. “ I don’t care how small the ring is, I’ll fight that chump in a telephone booth.”

96. “All through my life, I have been tested. My will has been tested, my courage has been tested. My strength has been tested. Now my patience and endurance are being tested.”

97. “I know no fighter can survive the loss if he feels sorry for himself when he’s defeated.”

98. “I’m not the greatest. I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out, I pick the round.”

99. “I had always come home like the victorious hunter bringing back big game from the jungle.”

Muhammad Ali Quotes That Tell You More About His Personality

100. “At home I am a nice guy, but I don’t want the world to know. Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”

101. “I would like to be remembered as a man who won the heavyweight title three times. Who was humorous and who treated everyone right. As a man who never looked down on those who looked up to him, and who helped as many people as he could. As a man who stood up for his beliefs no matter what. As a man who tried to unite all humankind through faith and love. And if all that’s too much, then I guess I’d settle for being remembered only as a great boxer who became a leader and a champion of his people. And I wouldn’t even mind if folks forgot how pretty I was.”

102. “I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.”

103. “Each time I thought I had achieved my ‘life’s purpose,’ I discovered it was only another step in my journey.”

104. “I shook up the world. Me! Whee!”

105. “I love children. I can never pass them by without saying something to them. They make you want to start life all over again.”

106. “I am America. I am the part you won’t recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky—my name, not yours—my religion, not yours—my goals, my own—get used to me.”

107. “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.”

108. “I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.”

109. “I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest!”

Memorable Muhammad Ali Quotes

110. “My toughest fight was with my first wife.”

111. “When it comes to love, compassion, and other feelings of the heart, I am rich.”

112. “I do a lot of reading, a lot of studying. I ask a question. I’ll go out, travel to these countries. I’ll watch how their people live, and I learn.”

113. “I try to learn as much as I can because I know nothing compared to what I need to know.”

114. “I used to tease Joe Louis by reminding him that I was the greatest of all time. But Joe Louis was the greatest heavyweight fighter ever.”

115. “I always bring out the best in men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.”

116. “I have never heard anything that affected me like those words, ‘Heavyweight Champion of the World.’”

117. “I had always been the one who picked up all the stragglers and stray followers.”

118. “My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother or some darker people or some poor hungry people in the mud for big powerful America.”

119. “Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.”

120. “Terrorists are not following Islam. Killing people and blowing up people and dropping bombs in places and all this is not the way to spread the word of Islam. So people realize now that all Muslims are not terrorists.”

Hilarious Muhammad Ali Quotes to Make You Smile

121. “Joe Frazier is so ugly that when he cries, the tears turn around and go down the back of his head.”

122. “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.”

123. “Superman doesn’t need no seat belt.”

124. “He’s ‘Sonny Liston’ too ugly to be the world champ. The world champ should be pretty like me!”

125. “It will be a killer, and a chiller, and a thriller, when I get the gorilla in Manila.”

126. “I am the astronaut of boxing. Joe Louis and Dempsey were just jet pilots. I’m in a world of my own.”

127. “Sonny Liston is nothing. The man can’t talk. The man can’t fight. The man needs talking lessons. The man needs boxing lessons. And since he’s gonna fight me, he needs falling lessons.”

128. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”

129. “No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room.”

130. “My way of joking is, to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world.”

More Muhammad Ali Quotes

131. “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”

132. “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.” 

133. “When you win so long, so much, you forget—you think your name will win. You forget the sacrifices, the work that goes into winning.”

134. “When a fighter is beaten, everybody who believes in him is beaten too—his family, his friends, his children, the people who cheer him on, who give him their love, their hope, their pride.”

135. “I loved the smell of horse and hay and the sight of their beautiful bodies. Somehow it inspired me to train harder so my body could be in condition like that.”

136. “There is a science to making your opponent wear down.”

137. “When I won the Golden Gloves in 1960, that made me realize I had a chance. And when I won at the Olympics, that sealed it: I was the champ.”

138. “I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And throw thunder in jail.” 

139. “My style, my stamina, my system were molded down in the basement of a church in the East End.”

140. “I got speed and endurance. You’d better increase your insurance.”

Did Muhammad Ali’s Journey and Success Inspire You?

Muhammad Ali grew up in a place where severe racial segregation existed. Growing up poor and racially abused, Ali learned that he needed to fight for everything he wanted and needed in life.

He was also known for street fights. But, before he beat up people in the streets, he was trained on how to fight by a boxing trainer at the local gym. From the moment he started being active in the streets, everything changed for him.

His journey to success continues to serve as an inspiration to people all over the globe, and one of the many lessons he taught us was to have confidence in ourselves and be bold. Remember that if you want to be a champion, you should first think that you are one, and the rest will follow.

Which of these quotes were most relevant to you? Do you have any other quotes you’d like us to add? Please, share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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