At UFC 263 this past weekend Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz went at it for 25 minutes in a rare non-title, non-headlining five round contest. ‘Rocky’ had the better of Diaz for most the fight, as reflected by his unanimous decision victory, but in the final round he was close to being finished by Diaz on the feet.
After sharing a gruelling contest which each other it seems as though the pair have developed some mutual respect. It also seems that Diaz, who has proven adept in getting what he wants from the UFC and the sport of MMA, shared some knowledge with the welterweight contender.
Nate told me after the fight “don’t let these motherfuckers tell you ain’t shit name your price or they will name it for you” and I felt that— Leon 'Rocky' Edwards (@Leon_edwardsmma) June 14, 2021
“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 been hunky-dory as of late. Despite having a long undefeated streak in the promotion—which stretches back to his loss to current champ Kamaru Usman in 2015—Edwards’ desired UFC title shot has proved elusive.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Edwards was due to face Tyron Woodley in a main event. UFC President Dana White had signalled that a win for Edwards would equal a title shot.
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.
It took a long time for Edwards to be booked again for the UFC. During that period he saw himself bounced from the UFC welterweight rankings. He was reinstated in the rankings after agreeing to face White’s latest pet project Khamzat Chimaev.
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.