‘He Was Holding Back’- Stephen Thompson Believes that Leon Edwards Could Have Finished Nate Diaz at UFC 263

Published 06/23/2021, 5:30 AM EDT


Former UFC title challenger Stephen Thompson sat down with Submission Radio ahead of his main card fight at UFC 264. ‘Wonderboy’ takes on a fellow top-ranked contender, Gilbert Burns, in a bid to move closer to another title shot. Stephen Thompson went over the match-up and also shared his views on a bout that recently went down at UFC 263.

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Welterweight contender Leon Edwards faced Nate Diaz in a five-round classic that ended rather dramatically. Diaz almost caused the ‘Upset of the Year’ as he staggered Edwards in the last minute of the fight. However, Edwards survived the onslaught and won a decision based on the work he did in the previous rounds.

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Stephen Thompson chimes in on Edwards vs Diaz

Stephen Thompson had plenty of thoughts regarding the Edwards vs Diaz fight and commented on the scrap. Thompson praised Diaz for truly bringing the fight to Edwards and also said that ‘Rocky’ held back. ‘Wonderboy’ believed that Leon Edwards could have done a lot more to potentially get rid of Nate Diaz during the fight.

FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE – MARCH 22: Stephen Thompson poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at Hilton Franklin Cool Springs on March 22, 2019 in Franklin, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

It was a classic fight of Nate Diaz you know, just the durability of that guy is just ridiculous. Took some crazy low calf kicks, like first, second, third, pretty much throughout the fight, and then almost finishes the guy in the fifth round… It was a really good fight. Edwards schooled him, I thought he schooled him but I feel like he could have finished him anytime he wanted and I was wondering ‘Why is he not finishing this guy’.”

“It can’t be the fact that he’s like, you know I’m going to try and go all five rounds. Cause that’s really not going through your head, you’re just trying to get the fight over with, knock this guy out. I felt like he was holding back, felt like he could go out there and finish Nate Diaz a lot earlier in the fight, but that’s just me. I thought it was a great performance by Leon Edwards, very intelligent fight, very smart fight.”

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‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s sentiments about Leon Edwards’ match-up is one that was shared by others in the MMA community. The general consensus was that the Englishman could have pushed the pace much more against Diaz. Regardless, he still managed to secure a dominant victory over Nate Diaz who came in prepared for war.

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Darryl Pinto

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Darryl Pinto is a senior MMA writer at EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his graduate degree in Mass Media (with a specialization in Journalism) out of Xavier’s College and has a year's experience in his current role. Darryl specializes in predictions, reporting, and covering UFC events live.

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