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May 25th, 2021
Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz are set to collide at UFC 263 on Saturday, June 12. Their non-title clash will get the five-round treatment, and a date with Kamaru Usman is next for the winner.
This is Edwards’ moment, and he’s primed to steal the show at UFC 263.
UFC 263 features two title fights as the main events, but the Edwards/Diaz fight has major implications in the welterweight division. The fight is being sanctioned as a five-round non-title affair, clearly an experimental bout for the promotion going forward, and much will be made of Diaz’s potential last chance at a title fight. Diaz may be the fan favorite going in on this one, and he’s certainly a ticket mover, but all the momentum is on Edwards’ side.
Diaz has been inactive after a clear loss to Jorge Masvidal, and is 2-2 over his last four fights. Like Masvidal, his name value ensures he will command the spotlight. The narrative suggests that Diaz is getting a leg up to set up a lucrative fight with Kamaru Usman. That gives Edwards the perfect time to steal the spotlight and add the name of a future hall of famer to his win column.
There is no reason why Edwards has to continue waiting on the sidelines for his rematch with Usman. Edwards has gone undefeated since that 2015 loss to Usman and has beaten his way back to the top of the division. While he no doubt appreciates the payday and the clout in taking the Diaz fight, there should be no reason for any further delays should he beat Diaz.
Diaz’s reputation goes a long way, but it’s been a long time since his landmark win over Conor McGregor. His only other win since then against a badly faded Anthony Pettis doesn't cut the mustard. Diaz knows the writing is on the wall, and hasn’t been this close to a title shot since Benson Henderson beat him back in 2012. Diaz’s time is long past, and Edwards is going to reaffirm his place in the division.
A 30-fight career is a lifetime in MMA, and Diaz has picked up a lot of miles during that time. He always starts slow in hopes of a strong finish, and that should be no different this time around. The fresher, stronger, and more motivated Edwards is at the top of his game, and it's unlikely Diaz works him over.
Edwards has the advantage in everything that counts. Because Diaz starts slow, Edwards will have the fight in the bag well before the end, and will become the most talked-about fighter at UFC 263.
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