Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Conor McGregor received "a few slaps" in a street fight against a drug dealer while growing up in Dublin, the aggressor has revealed.
Speaking to ESPN The Magazine's Wright Thompson ahead of The Notorious' August 26 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, former dealer Johno Frazer said McGregor refused to join his line of work and opted for the safer route of plumbing.
He also relayed a story about one violent encounter with the man who would go on to become the UFC's first duel-weight champion: "I gave Conor a few slaps. I was in a gang. Conor wasn't in a gang. He went walking up the Crumlin Road with a girl I was with, and I hit him."
The tale illustrates the journey McGregor has undertaken, making the step up from street scraps over girls to arguably the most high-profile fight in combat sports history against arguably the best to have ever graced a ring.
Thompson's article, titled "Crossing Crumlin Road," tells how McGregor shunned the gang culture abundant in Crumlin, the area where he grew up, in favour of a more long-term goal—a decision that's paid off and then some.
Frazer gave another account illustrating McGregor's will to live to a greater potential, while acknowledging the UFC lightweight champion encountered his own share of temptations growing up:
"We were all drug dealers, and we all had loads of money. Conor had none. Conor stayed in our room on a blow-up bed. His dad was ringing him, 'He has to come home, go back to plumbing.' He didn't want to go back."
McGregor's journey from Dublin suburb to the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Nevada—where he has fought on five occasions—is a rags-to-riches story of major proportions.
One need only glance at the 29-year-old's official Instagram account to comprehend the elite heights to which he's soared: