McGregor, 29, knocked out Eddie Alvarez to win lightweight gold last November but has spent the better part of 2017 negotiating and preparing for a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
‘The Notorious’ fought Mayweather this past August and, to the surprise of many, had some success in the early rounds. Despite a somewhat promising start, McGregor faded in the middle rounds and was eventually stopped with a barrage of punches in the 10th.
Fans are now clamoring to see the Irishman back in the Octagon, and McGregor himself has promised to return to defend his 155-pound title and ‘legitimize’ the UFC rankings.
But, the clock is ticking, as it’s been over a year since McGregor stepped foot in the Octagon and the SBG Ireland product has never defended a title in his career.
Former opponent Jose Aldo, who lost the featherweight belt to McGregor at UFC 194, believes the UFC should strip him if he’s not willing to defend the lightweight strap.
“Thank God my division is moving. It would be bad if it was stuck, but my division is moving,” Aldo said at a recent media day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, per MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz. “It’s hard, right? Every athlete dreams of becoming champion, fighting for the title, and the guy is holding up the division. But it’s up to the UFC to make the decisions.
“The UFC needs to do what has to be done: you take the belt away or make him defend it. I think everyone is waiting for that.”
McGregor and Tony Ferguson went back-and-forth on social media last month, and Aldo, 31, believes ‘El Cucuy’ has what it takes to dethrone McGregor.
“Yes, this time is coming,” Aldo said. “He has to defend it, has to put his belt on the line in order to become champion. He only won the title. For me, Ferguson has great possibilities of becoming champion in the future.”
While McGregor is likely to face Ferguson in a lightweight title unification bout in the new year, Aldo will look to reclaim the featherweight title in a championship rematch with Max Holloway at UFC 218. Aldo will take on Holloway this Saturday, Dec. 2, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan.