When Conor McGregor rushed in to finish an already bruised and battered Donald Cerrone in January, it seemed his comeback was well and truly on.
‘The Notorious’ landed a perfectly placed head kick on the side of the UFC veteran’s jaw before finishing ‘Cowboy’ on the ground and celebrating on his knees in relief.
After a 15-month absence from the octagon, the former two-weight world champion was back under the Ultimate Fighting Championship lights and made an estimated £1.6million per SECOND in doing so.
However, McGregor’s reported ‘season’ was soon scrapped and fans will now have to wait until next month to see him fight again.
Of course, money is no longer an issue for the Irishman; becoming the first ever UFC ‘champ-champ’, his boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather and the launch of ‘Proper 12 Irish Whiskey’ means he does not have to fight ever again.
Yet the lure of competition will seemingly always prove too strong for the 32-year-old to resist and his love of fighting has taken him off of the welfare to the brink of becoming a billionaire.
It was not all fast cars and caviar for McGregor of course; he was actually REJECTED by the UFC almost eight years ago due to the saturation of the featherweight division at the time.
Instead, he moved up to lightweight and knocked out Cage Warriors champion Ivan Buchinger and earned his spot at the world’s premier MMA organisation the hard way.
After impressing UFC President Dana White at a dinner, the American snapped up the promising fighter after believing he had all the capabilities to become a superstar just through his charisma alone.
During an interview with TSN’s Michael Landsberg, White said: “Listen, I don’t know if this guy can fight, but if he can even throw a punch, he’s going to be a huge star.”
Not only can McGregor throw a punch, he can also render opponents unconscious with his fists and is even able to predict when the stoppage will come.
After his first round win over Marcus Brimage, White awarded McGregor a $50,000 bonus for his performance on top of his wages for showing up and securing the win.
Business between the pair was booming and, after promising the Irishman the chance to fight in his home country and also Boston, the two met again for a meeting which culminated in a Ferrari race around Las Vegas.
Clearly not yet accustomed to such a lavish lifestyle, McGregor recorded the encounter for his social media followers to enjoy and his infectious cackle was only drowned out by the engine of the supercar.
After earning £385,000 in just 13 seconds during his demolition of Jose Aldo in 2015, the McGregor hype train was rapidly beginning to accelerate and it culminated in his second UFC title in New York City.
Before dismantling Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 (a performance which earned him almost £60,000 per strike) the Crumlin-native spent $55,000 (£41,000) on a Gucci mink coat for his press conference appearance.
He arrived at Madison Square Garden in a £280,000 custom-made Rolls Royce Ghost and admitted he was addicted to training and shopping.
Speaking to the UFC Embedded camera team, McGregor said: “I have an unhealthy obsession with spending money. But I have a healthy obsession with making it – so it’s all good.”
Of course, the defeat to Khabib Nurmagomedov was a chastening one for the proud Irishman, yet the main event of UFC 229 is still the most watched in the company’s history.
It was bought by 2.4 million people in the United States alone and remains the second most bought combat sports PPV event in history, behind only to former foe Mayweather and rumoured opponent Manny Pacquiao.
If the Irishman can create magic once again in the octagon on Fight Island at UFC 257, bouts against the likes of Justin Gaethje, Pacquaio or even welterweight champion Kamaru Usman could well be on the cards.
However, regardless of the result in his rematch with Poirier or how many more zeros he can add to his bank account, ‘The Notorious’ is still the same fighter at heart who squealed louder than Dana White’s tires during their late night cruise through Sin City.