Leon Edwards Challenges Nate Diaz to Stand up to His Word

Published 02/12/2021, 2:51 PM EST
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – JULY 20: Leon Edwards of Jamaica is interviewed after defeating Rafael Dos Anjos of Brazil by unanimous decision in their welterweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at AT&T Center on July 20, 2019 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


After the fight between Leon Edwards and Khamzat Chimaev fell off once again, it seems as if Edwards will have to wait longer for his UFC return. However, the number three ranked welterweight wishes to fight on the scheduled card. He even has a name in mind who wished for a similar Octagon return at 170-pounds – Nate Diaz.

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Edwards and Chimaev were supposed to fight on March 13 next month. While Chimaev has made a name for himself by fighting in quick successions, Edwards has stayed on the sidelines since July 2019. As per ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, Edwards is adamant about wanting to end his prolonged spell of inactivity.

Leon Edwards is very adamant on staying on the March 13 card, per his manager Tim Simpson. He doesn’t want to delay his return any longer.

As a result, Wonderboy isn’t an option because his hands are still injured from the Neal fight and he’ll only be able to return in May/June.

— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 12, 2021

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UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson dropped his name in the hat to fight Edwards. However, since he is still recovering from his fight against Geoff Neal this past December, he is ineligible to fight next month. Hence, Edwards has called out an even bigger name in Nate Diaz.

Nate just dribbled for an hour about wanting to fight at 170 against winners… let’s see it then @NateDiaz209. 8 fight win streak and #3 in the world. Let’s go if you still think you're a real one https://t.co/PUaPfwtRPQ

— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) February 12, 2021

Nate just dribbled for an hour about wanting to fight at 170 against winners… let’s see it then @NateDiaz209. 8 fight win streak and #3 in the world. Let’s go if you still think you’re a real one,” Edwards wrote on Twitter.

Why fighting Nate Diaz makes the most sense for Leon Edwards

Earlier this week, Nate Diaz gave his first interview since losing to Jorge Masvidal in 2019. Even though the Stockton native wished to return, he was particular about not dropping down to 155-pounds. Instead, he wishes to compete at welterweight, a division he has fought his last three fights in.

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The flaw in Diaz’s plan is that despite wanting to fight at welterweight, the opponents he showed an interest in are all top lightweights. Even though Diaz is a massive draw, the likes of Poirier and Oliveira are less likely to jump up a weight class to fight him, given that the 155-pound title will soon be up for grabs. Oliveira’s coach has even dismissed the possibility of a Diaz fight.
Edwards and Diaz make a ton of sense for each other as opponents. Diaz wished to stay active in 2021 and fight three to four times. He also added that he has been training and ready for return. Meanwhile, Edwards is riding an eight-fight win streak. However, what misses in his resume is a win over a certified draw such as Diaz.

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On top of it, the other opponents Edwards wanted, Masvidal and Covington, will fight each other sooner or later, it seems. Therefore, it seems unlikely that the UFC matches any of them against Edwards.

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Rishabh Singh

655 articles

Rishabh Singh is an MMA author at EssentiallySports since 2020. An engineer in the making, his love for combat sports began by watching Anderson Silva light people up inside the Octagon. When he isn't busy in his technical pursuits, he is an avid reader with a love for sports in general and sporting history in particular.

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