Just five years ago, Conor McGregor was struggling to afford a $250 walkout song, and today he is the highest paid UFC fighter in the history of the sport.
A screenshot surfaced between composer Mikey Rukus and McGregor, who was preparing for his CG 2: Clash of the Giants fight against Artur Sowinski. He appears to have been looking for Rukus to create a custom song but couldn't afford the fee.
"At the time, I had just finished up work for Cage Warriors on new theme music that was used for a Conor promo, as well," said Ruckus who spoke to Champions.co. "I saw him and I reached out to him like I have so many other fighters over the years. Just had a conversation in regards to what he was looking for in terms of style etc. It was going to be an original, custom song in the vein of Sinead O'Connor and The Chieftains."
Rukus has created songs for Cub Swanson, Invicta FC, Mark Hunt and just created the new World Series of Fighting theme song. He's also created custom music for Michael Johnson for UFC 205, and Chad Laprise will walk out to a custom tune at UFC 206.
"Those have to go through final approval though," he said.
Unfortunately the deal between he and McGregor never went through, but there were no bad feelings on either end.
"I offered him a lower rate but the timing just wasn't right," he said. "We kind of ended it on that note. I understand fighters on the regional circuit don't make a ton of money, and he wasn't at all trying to haggle me at that time, it was an honest response."
He says that fans often ask why he didn't just hook him up.
"I have done discounted rates and even some sponsored tracks, but there are a lot of variables that go into being able to do that sort of thing," he said. "My music is my business, how I feed my family, so it's not always feasible."
McGregor earned a $3 million fight purse for his fight with Nate Diaz at UFC 202, with potential to take home upwards of $15 million after bonuses and pay per view sales. He's known as a flamboyant spender, buying fancy cars, top of the line watches and designer clothing, but has never hidden the fact that he came from humble beginnings.
McGregor is arguably the biggest fighter to ever grace the Octagon, but five years ago wasn't even on the UFC's radar.
The featherweight champion is set to face the lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez, at UFC 205 on November 15. If McGregor wins, he will become the first UFC fighter ever to hold titles in two different weight divisions at the same time.
"I'd still work with him, of course, if I had the opportunity, as I have reached out a couple more times," he said. "But, Conor is a busy dude. Everyone starts somewhere."