For the majority of the battle, Edwards controlled Diaz, but the main highlight came in the fifth round when Diaz wobbled ‘Rocky’ and had the top-three welterweight on the queer street for the final minute of the fight.
Edwards withstood the late onslaught and had exceptional survival skills, but ‘Durinho’ does not believe his performance merits a title chance against Kamaru Usman.
“And I think Leon Edwards lost the shot just because he didn’t get a finish,” Burns told SCMP MMA in a recent interview (h/t MMA News). “He wasn’t hungry. Not even criticizing the guy. I think he fought very good. He’s a very smart fighter. But he’s not a finisher. If you go all day and sometimes just, as they say, bite the mouthpiece, and go forward, and finish the fight, sometimes you’re gonna get the shot.
“But if you just kinda point-fight, winning the fight, that’s good for you. You make more money, you’re changing contracts, you’re getting better, getting famous. But at the end of the day, the real fans, the real guys, the crazy guy with the ‘Just Bleed,’ those are the real fans. And they want to see violence. They want to see a finish. They go crazy when someone does a crazy knockout. And I just think he lost the shot (with) that performance.”
“Clearly, he beat Nate Diaz at least four rounds easily, but sometimes that’s not enough to win the fights. He won the fight. He did. But I think Masvidal did it way better, and a lot of guys did it way better. Ben Henderson did it way better. RDA did it way better. And I can count a lot of guys that beat Nate and beat (him) a lot better than Leon Edwards did: way more convincing, way more fun to watch. I think he missed a very good opportunity. If I saw (Nate Diaz) in front of me and I beat him up four rounds….last round, it’s gonna be a real fight.”
Edwards is willing to sit out and wait for the winner of Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington’s forthcoming title rematch. The Team Renegade product is undefeated in nine fights and hasn’t lost since losing a unanimous decision to “The Nigerian Nightmare” at UFC on FOX 17 over six years ago.
Burns will face Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 on July 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, in an attempt to avenge his title loss to Usman.