Muhammad Ali is one of the most iconic sports figures of all time, and part of that mystique came from Ali's ability to deliver great quotes in any interview and any setting. He was always prepared with an inspirational idea or a motivational speech or just a funny attack on one of his opponents.
The most famous quotes by Muhammad Ali have all stood the test of time, and sayings like "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" and "I'm young. I'm handsome. I'm fast. I can't possibly be beat" serve as a perfect way to remember probably the greatest boxer of all time. He was known for his confidence in the ring and his desire to inspire and help people out of it, and his best quotes all reveal why he was the greatest.
So, check out this list of the best Muhammad Ali quotes, and vote up sayings that will always have you remembering the champ.
On Fighting Foreman
"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 explaining his strategy and prediction as only he can for his fight against George Foreman.
On Why We're Here
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
- Muhammad Ali on why helping others is our reason for being here.
On Taking Advantage
"Don’t count the days; make the days count."
- Muhammad Ali talking about not letting time go to waste.
On The Word Impossible
“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 on recognizing the mindset that nothing is impossible.
On The Little Things Getting To You
“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining that the little things are the things that affect you, not the big picture.
On Taking Risks
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining how you can't accomplish anything if you don't take the necessary risks.
On Being Humble
“It's hard to be humble when you're as great as I am."
- Muhammad Ali on his talent overshadowing his humility.
On Why He's Successful
"I'm young; I'm handsome; I'm fast. I can't possibly be beat."
- Muhammad Ali listing all of his great qualities.
On Making Something Of Yourself
“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining that anything can become something.
On Never Quitting
“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 on the reward being worth all the hard work.
On Wisdom Coming With Age
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining why your mindset and views change as you get older.
On Pulling Out A Victory
"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 digging down deep to overcome adversity.
"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 explaining the importance of friendship.
On Living Life
“Live every day as if it were your last because someday you're going to be right.”
- Muhammad Ali on how one day it ends for everyone, so just live your life to its fullest.
"A man who has no imagination stands on the earth, he has no wings, he cannot fly."
- Muhammad Ali on why those who don't think outside the box can't soar to new heights.
“It’s not bragging if you can back it up.”
- Muhammad Ali replying to criticism on his braggadocios nature.
On His Celebrity
"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 on using his celebrity to help others.
On His Journey
“I’ve wrestled with alligators. I’ve tussled with a whale. I done handcuffed lightning. And thrown thunder in jail.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining what he's been through to get to where he is.
"I am the greatest. I said that even before I knew I was."
- Muhammad Ali on his mindset as he grew as a boxer.
"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up."
- Muhammad Ali explaining what boxing is to him.
On Lack Of Faith
“It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
- Muhammad Ali having enough faith in himself to go meet challenges head-on.
On Being Remembered
"I would like for them to say, he took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience, one tablespoon of generosity, one pint of kindness; he took one quart of laughter, one piece of concern, and then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it and expanded it over a lifetime. And he served each and every deserving person he met."
- Muhammad Ali on how he wants people to remember him.
On How To Win A Fight
“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 on how the fight isn't won in the ring, it's won long before the fight starts.
On His Opponents
“If you even dream of beating me you'd better wake up and apologize.”
- Muhammad Ali explaining that the very notion of thinking you can beat him is offensive.
On His Impact
"I shook up the world. Me! Whee!"
- Muhammad Ali after winning defeating Sonny Liston for the title.