McGregor reached the summit of the 155lbs division in the main event of UFC 205, a card which saw him create history by becoming the first UFC fighter to hold two titles simultaneously.
The Irishman has yet to defend the title he claimed with a vicious second-round TKO victory over Eddie Alvarez, much to the frustration of many in the division.
The birth of his first child, Conor Jr, and a multi-million-pound boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr played key roles in McGregor’s hiatus from the Octagon and the lightweight division grinding to a halt.
An interim 155lbs title was brought into the mix to keep the weight class moving along and was claimed by Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 216 in October.
That’s in part down to the fact a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz is still in the offing for ‘The Notorious’, who has repeatedly voiced his eagerness to settle the score with the man responsible for his sole UFC loss.
While a rubber match with Diaz is a fight many want to see, the general consensus in the mixed martial arts world is that McGregor must legitimise his reign as champion by facing Ferguson, a view which is held by former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten.
“First of all, (he needs to fight) the interim champion,” Rutten told Express Sport.
“He needs to defend his title, it’s got to start there.
“I think Max Holloway is a fight that he needs to fight as well, if he still wants to fight it.
“Nate Diaz will be a great fight, but I think he’s holding the division hostage.
“He needs to defend his title. Otherwise, he’s going to have to step away from it.”
McGregor, 21-3, hasn’t fought in the UFC in over a year, much to the frustration of his legion of fans.
According to UFC president Dana White, his first fight back in the promotion will be a lightweight title unification bout with Ferguson.