Harness your inner champion with these inspiring Muhammad Ali quotes that will challenge you to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. A true legend, this late boxer’s words are still just as motivational today as they were way back when.
Muhammed Ali is widely regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time. He was the heavyweight champion of the world 3 times and has defeated some of the best boxers in the history of the sport.
He is known for his incredible speed, strength, and controversial statements.
Muhammad Ali quotes and poems are famous around the world.
Ali was a passionate and intelligent man that always spoke his mind and was full of wisdom.
Unlike most boxers who used their managers to talk for them, Ali wanted to be known in the media. Ali used the media to grow his audience and his message.
Ali loved to throw off his opponents before even stepping into the ring.
Muhammed Ali first took up boxing at age 12, after another kid stole his bike.
His amateur career went extremely well and he dominated any tournaments he entered.
He was trained by Chuck Bodak and was known for his exceptional discipline and dedication to the sport.
Many of his fights, such as the fights against George Foreman and Joe Frazier, are the most famous in boxing history. Ali became the heavyweight champion of the world at the young age of 21.
While Muhammad Ali’s boxing skills were incredible, he’s also known for being a free spirit.
While many other people fled to other countries to avoid the draft, Ali decided to publicly denounce it.
He refused to be drafted, and as a result, was jailed for 3 years in the prime of his boxing career.
His resistance and protest of the war, despite the repercussions, showed the world how strong Ali’s spirit was and inspired many.
Muhammed Ali will always be known for his rebellious nature, witty mouth, and incredible boxing ability.
He created a legacy that will live on forever. Everyone can learn something from Muhammad Ali quotes.
Below is our collection of inspirational, wise, and funny Muhammad Ali quotes and sayings, collected from a variety of sources over the years.
You might also like these motivational Manny Pacquiao quotes for when you are feeling down and out.
Muhammad Ali Quotes on Life
1. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
2. “I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammad Ali
3. “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali
4. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
5. “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” – Muhammad Ali
6. “It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Quotes on Being a Champion
7. “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
8. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
9. “A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali
10. “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
11. “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali
12. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” – Muhammad Ali
13. “I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was. I figured that if I said it enough, I would convince the world that I really was the greatest.” – Muhammad Ali
14. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” – Muhammad Ali
15. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali quotes on Islam and Love
16. “Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them—a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” – Muhammad Ali
17. “There are no pleasures in a fight, but some of my fights have been a pleasure to win.” – Muhammad Ali
18. “I’ve wrestled with alligators / I’ve tussled with a whale / I done handcuffed lightning / And throw thunder in jail.” – Muhammad Ali
19. “If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it—then I can achieve it.” – Muhammad Ali
20. “Don’t count the days; make the days count.” – Muhammad Ali
21. “It’s not bragging if you can back it up.” – Muhammad Ali
22. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
23. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” – Muhammad Ali
More Quotes by Muhammad Ali
24. “To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If not pretend you are.” – Muhammad Ali
25. “What you are thinking is what you are becoming. – Muhammad Ali
26. “What keeps me going is goals.” – Muhammad Ali
27. “Live everyday as if it were your last because someday you’re going to be right.” – Muhammad Ali
28. “Age is whatever you think it is. You are as old as you think you are.” – Muhammad Ali
29. “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, then they can sure make something out of you.” – Muhammad Ali
30. “Silence is golden when you can’t think of a good answer.” – Muhammad Ali
31. It’s hard to be humble, when you’re as great as I am. – Muhammad Ali
32. It’s just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up. – Muhammad Ali
33. It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen. – Muhammad Ali
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to check out our collection of daily affirmations to create a positive mindset.
34. 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
35. My toughest fight was with my first wife. – Muhammad Ali
36. My way of joking is to tell the truth. That’s the funniest joke in the world. – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Quotes on Training
37. No one knows what to say in the loser’s locker room. – Muhammad Ali
38. Old age is just a record of one’s whole life. – Muhammad Ali
39. 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. – Muhammad Ali
40. Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths. – Muhammad Ali
41. Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. – Muhammad Ali
If you’re enjoying these quotes, make sure to read our collection of quotes about service about the power of serving others.
42. 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. – Muhammad Ali
43. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
44. “I wish people would love everybody else the way they love me. It would be a better world.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali quotes to make you strong
45. “You’re my opposer when I want freedom; You’re my opposer when I want justice; You’re my opposer when I want equality; You won’t even stand up for me in America for my religious beliefs and you want me to go somewhere and fight, but you won’t even stand up for me here at home!”- Muhammad Ali
46. “If you even dream of beating me you’d better wake up and apologize.”- Muhammad Ali
47. “I don’t get hit. I’m the fastest thing on two feet man!”- Muhammad Ali
48. “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
49. “I don’t care how small the ring is, I’ll fight that chump in a telephone booth.”- Muhammad Ali
50. “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.”- Muhammad Ali
51. “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.”- Muhammad Ali
52. “Look at me. Look at my nose, perfect shape; lips, face. Now I’m not boasting, but it’s hard to be humble when you’re as pretty as I am.”- Muhammad Ali
53. “Friendship is a priceless gift that cannot be bought nor sold, but its value is far greater than a mountain made of gold.” – Muhammad Ali
54. “I am a Muslim and there is nothing Islamic about killing innocent people in Paris, San Bernardino, or anywhere else in the world.” –Muhammad Ali
55. “The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” – Muhammad Ali
56. “A man who has no imagination has no wings.”- Muhammad Ali
57. “Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.”- Muhammad Ali
58. “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.”- Muhammad Ali
59. “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go ten thousand miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights?”- Muhammad Ali
60. “What you’re thinking is what you’re becoming.”- Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali quotes to elevate your perspective
61. “I said I was ‘The Greatest,’ I never said I was the smartest!” – Muhammad Ali
62. “Wisdom is knowing when you can’t be wise.”― Muhammad Ali
63. “I wanted to use my fame and this face that everyone knows so well to help uplift and inspire people around the world.” – Muhammad Ali
64. “When it comes to love, compassion, and other feelings of the heart, I am rich.”― Muhammad Ali
65. “It’s in my blood to be around people while I was training.” – Muhammad Ali
66. “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
67. “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses, behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road; long before I dance under those lights.”― Muhammad Ali
68. “We spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning to make a life.”― Muhammad Ali
69. “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.”― Muhammad Ali
70. “I don’t trust anyone who’s nice to me but rude to the waiter. Because they would treat me the same way if I were in that position.”― Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali quotes about success and greatness
71. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
72. “My wealth is in my knowledge of self, love, and spirituality.”― Muhammad Ali
73. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
74. “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.”― Muhammad Ali
75. “Life is so, so short. Bible says it’s like a vapor.” – Muhammad Ali
76. “When you want to talk about who made me, you talk to me. Who made me is ME.”― Muhammad Ali
77. “The only thing that matters is submitting to the will of God.” – Muhammad Ali
78. “When we devote all of our actions to a spiritual goal, everything that we do becomes a prayer.”― Muhammad Ali
79. “Wars of nations are fought to change maps. But wars of poverty are fought to map change.”― Muhammad Ali
80. “Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.”― Muhammad Ali
Thought-provoking Muhammad Ali quotes
81. “The greatest victory in life is to rise above the material things that we once valued most.” – Muhammad Ali
82. “Enjoy your children, even when they don’t act the way you want them to.” – Muhammad Ali
83. “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.” – Muhammad Ali
84. “No one starts out on top. You have to work your way up.” – Muhammad Ali
85. “Rest but never quit. Even the sun has a sinking spell each evening. But it always rises the next morning.” – Muhammad Ali
86. “Christians are my brothers, Hindus are my brothers, all of them are my brothers. We just think different and believe different.” – Muhammad Ali
87. “I try to learn as much as I can because I know nothing compared to what I need to know.” – Muhammad Ali
88. “I run on the road long before I dance under the lights.” – Muhammad Ali
89. “The one without dreams is the one without wings.” – Muhammad Ali
90. “I do a lot of reading, a lot of studying. I ask questions, I’ll go out, travel these countries, I’ll watch how their people live, and I learn.” – Muhammad Ali
Other Muhammad Ali quotes and sayings
91. “The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Muhammad Ali
92. “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
93. “Others may know pleasure, but pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.” – Muhammad Ali
94. “We can’t be brave without fear.” – Muhammad Ali
95. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
96. “There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people.” – Muhammad Ali
97. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.” – Muhammad Ali
98. “Think well of all, be patient with all, and try to find the good in all.” – Muhammad Ali
99. “Recognize how every moment of our journey is an important part of the growth of our soul.” – Muhammad Ali
100. “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.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Pre Fight Rhymes and Quotes
“This is the legend of Cassius Clay,
The most beautiful fighter in the world today.
He talks a great deal, and brags indeed-y,
of a muscular punch that’s incredibly speed-y.
The fistic world was dull and weary,
But with a champ like Liston, things had to be dreary.
Then someone with color and someone with dash,
Brought fight fans are runnin’ with Cash.
This brash young boxer is something to see
And the heavyweight championship is his des-tin-y.
This kid fights great; he’s got speed and endurance,
But if you sign to fight him, increase your insurance.
This kid’s got a left; this kid’s got a right,
If he hit you once, you’re asleep for the night.
And as you lie on the floor while the ref counts ten,
You’ll pray that you won’t have to fight me again.
For I am the man this poem’s about,
The next champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
This I predict and I know the score,
I’ll be champ of the world in ’64.
When I say three, they’ll go in the third,
10 months ago
So don’t bet against me, I’m a man of my word.
He is the greatest! Yes!
I am the man this poem’s about,
I’ll be champ of the world, there isn’t a doubt.
Here I predict Mr. Liston’s dismemberment,
I’ll hit him so hard; he’ll wonder where October and November went.
When I say two, there’s never a third,
Standin against me is completely absurd.
When Cassius says a mouse can outrun a horse,
Don’t ask how; put your money where your mouse is!
I AM THE GREATEST!” – Muhammad Ali
Last night I had a dream, When I got to Africa,
I had one hell of a rumble.
I had to beat Tarzan’s behind first,
For claiming to be King of the Jungle.
For this fight, I’ve wrestled with alligators,
I’ve tussled with a whale.
I done handcuffed lightning
And throw thunder in jail.
You know I’m bad.
just last week, I murdered a rock,
Injured a stone, Hospitalized a brick.
I’m so mean, I make medicine sick.
I’m so fast, man,
I can run through a hurricane and don’t get wet.
When George Foreman meets me,
He’ll pay his debt.
I can drown the drink of water, and kill a dead tree.
Wait till you see Muhammad Ali. – Muhammad Ali
I’d like for them to say he took a few cups of love,
he took one tablespoon of patience, teaspoon of generosity,
one pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter,
one pinch of concern,
he mix willingness with happiness,
he added lots of faith,
and he stirred it up well,
then he spreads it over his span of a lifetime,
and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.
– Muhammad Ali
To make America the greatest is my goal,
So I beat the Russians, and I beat the Pole,
and for the USA won the medal of gold.
Italians said: “You’re Greater than the Cassius of old´´.
We like your name, we like your game,
So make Rome your home if you will.
I said I appreciate your kind hospitality,
But the USA is my country still,
‘Cause they’re waiting to welcome me in Louisville.
Poem written after winning the gold medal in the 1960 Olympic Summer Games in Rome, Italy
Top 10 Muhammad Ali Best Knockouts
Which Muhammad Ali quotes were your favorite?
Whether or not you’re a boxing fan, there are lots of lessons you can learn from Muhammad Ali quotes. He was a heavyweight both inside and outside the ring, and left an indelible mark on history and culture.
Hopefully, these words from the people’s champion have inspired you to be self-confident and to hold true to yourself and your own beliefs, regardless of circumstance.
Did you enjoy these Muhammad Ali quotes? What other quotes by Muhammad Ali would you add to the list? Tell us in the comment section below! #ripchamp #ali
March 16, 2021 6:00 AM EST