Re: Thoughts on sparring better fighters
From my limited experience:
Sparring guys who I feel I'm better than helps me know what my strengths are and boosts my confidence. This allows me to work on new things that I've been practicing on the bag/shadowboxing. I feel more calm and relaxed throughout the whole session.
Sparring better guys helps me know what my weaknesses are and keeps my ego in check. This allows me to work on modifying my strategy on the fly and identifying what areas in my game need immediate attention. I feel more worried/anxious about what to do and what not to do, but at the same time it drives me to be more competitive and try harder, as if to say, "You're getting the better of me, but I'm not gonna back down."
I've learned from both situations, but I feel like sparring better guys has helped me improve more all around.