Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz fought for 25 minutes in a non-title, non-headlining five-round bout at UFC 263 this past weekend. ‘Rocky’ had the better of Diaz for the majority of the fight, as seen by his unanimous decision victory, but he came dangerously near to being stopped on the feet by Diaz in the final round.
Following a grueling competition with one other, it appears that the two have gained some mutual respect. Diaz, who has a track record of getting what he wants from the UFC and the sport of MMA, appears to have imparted some wisdom with the welterweight contender.
“Nate told me after the fight, ‘don’t let these motherfuckers tell you [you] ain’t shit,” tweeted Edwards. “‘Name your price of they will name it for you,’ and I felt that.”
Edwards’ relationship with the UFC hasn’t exactly been smooth lately. Edwards’ desired UFC championship chance has eluded him despite a long undefeated streak in the promotion dating back to his loss to current champ Kamaru Usman in 2015.
Edwards was scheduled to face Tyron Woodley in a main event before the COVID-19 epidemic broke out. Edwards had been promised a title chance if he won the fight, according to UFC President Dana White.
However, when that event was cancelled and Edwards bucked at orders to board a plane and get to the US before various places went into lockdown (despite having no plan for how Edwards might get home), the Brit seems to have fallen out of favour.
Edwards had to wait a long time to fight again in the UFC. During that time, he was demoted from the UFC‘s welterweight division. After agreeing to face White’s current pet project Khamzat Chimaev, he was reinstated in the rankings.
The Chimaev fight never came about due to both men suffering serious bouts of COVID-19. Edwards was finally able to return to action (after a nearly two year lay-off) when he faced Belal Muhammad in March.
That match ended in a no contest due to a nasty eye-poke inflicted on Muhammad in the second round. Now with a win over Diaz, Edwards likely views himself as a natural contender for Usman. However, we’ll have to wait and see if the UFC is willing to give him what he wants.