Conor McGregor may be worth £100million, live in a £2m home and drive £200,000 supercars, but it was a cold dose of reality which proved most valuable on his long road back from infamy.
Fifteen months ago the Irishman was choked out by lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov to bring a conclusive end to their vitriolic rivalry.
For McGregor, 31, it signalled the beginning of his journey down the path trodden by so many who have punched their way from poverty to prosperity.
He was arrested in Miami following an altercation with a fan and fined in Dublin for assaulting a man who had declined a shot of the fighter’s whiskey.
But away from the consequences of crime, McGregor sought refuge in his past in a bid to rediscover the hunger which had deserted him.
He found it in Crumlin Boxing Club where he first learned to punch and in Phil Sutcliffe who first honed his potential.
“I always said f*** the fame, I never got into it for the fame, it was always a necessary part of it,” McGregor said.
“It certainly has its pro and cons, one day maybe I’ll log off and do a back step out of it all because it is a wild game.
“It sometimes feels like a witch hunt, it’s not me, it’s with my family where it gets heavy at times.
“I needed to regroup where I began and go back to my roots and stay connected to my roots.
“To walk down the lane and go into that gym at the back of the swimming pool with its cold showers even still.
“It was great to be back, the knowledge of that man and the people in that club is second to none, they are true masters in the sport of boxing.”
It is to mixed martial arts McGregor returns tonight however as he takes on grizzled 50-fight veteran Donald Cerrone at UFC 246.
A notoriously slow starter who struggles against southpaws, the adrenaline junkie looks tailor-made to welcome back the former champion.
And nagging doubts about McGregor’s stamina at welterweight should mean he will seek to destroy in the opening two rounds.
“I’m coming with all my intent and all my skills to put Donald away,” he added.
“There is still pressure, there is still weight on my shoulders, but this is what I love to do and it’s good to be back.”
- Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone is live on BT Sport Box Office tonight