As per Ariel Helwani, Nate Diaz is looking to get back inside the Octagon and face Leon Edwards for UFC 262. Diaz’s last fight was against Masvidal back in November of 2019 and it was for the BMF belt.
Stephen Thompson then reacted to the news with a Will Smith GIF. It certainly looks like the matchmaking is unfair for other top contenders since Diaz is coming off a loss against Masvidal and is now fighting the number 3 ranked guy. Although to Diaz’s credit, more casual fans watch a Diaz fight thus generate bigger PPV numbers.
— Stephen Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) March 31, 2021
For Wonderboy, he has been calling out Leon Edwards for a potential fight but the UFC has not made it. The only other opponent that would make sense would be Colby Covington since he is the only one with no fights booked in the top 5 ranking.
Another unique thing worth noting is that the UFC is booking the fight as a 5 round fight even though it is not a main-event or a title fight. It will be the first five round co-main non-title fight which is actually a great idea. Given that Diaz is known for his cardio, he would pretty much prefer a five round fight.
For Leon Edwards, he has only been to a five round fight once and it was against Rafael Dos Anjos. In that fight, he looked to have great cardio as well plus he was shutting down RDA’s game due to his longer reach and distance management.
Stylistically, it will look to be a high paced fight where both fighters will have constant pressure right off the opening bell. Diaz usually starts slow and gets better as the fight goes on, while Edwards is always focused on winning the rounds early.
If Edwards beats Diaz, his ranking will likely not increase since he is already highly ranked and Diaz is not even ranked in the welterweight division. Though a finish against durable Diaz would really be impressive especially a knockout win. The only other benefit for Edwards would be the fight pay and making his name more known to the casual fans.