Newly-minted Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight champion, Leon Edwards, has some ideas in mind for his first 170-pound title defense.
Edwards scored one of the craziest victories in mixed martial arts (MMA) history this past weekend (Aug. 20, 2022) in UFC 278’s main event. Rematching the dominant reigning champion, Kamaru Usman, Edwards was well on his way to dropping yet another unanimous decision defeat as he did in their original Dec. 2015 encounter. That was until the final minute of the bout struck and so did Edwards, connecting with a picture-perfect left high kick, knocking out the “Nigerian Nightmare” and crowning “Rocky” as only the second British UFC titleholder ever (watch highlights).
While an Usman trilogy bout seems like a guarantee with everything considered, Edwards sees himself in the driver’s seat with options to choose from. Outside of the former champion, next in line for his crack at gold is UFC 279 headliner, Khamzat Chimaev, who will have to get through Nate Diaz on that Sept. 10, 2022, date.
But ... what if Diaz — like Edwards — can pull off a wild upset?
“Imagine the scenes. The scenes!” Edwards told The MMA Hour. “I really hope he does [beat Chimaev], imagine the scenes. I would 100 percent give him a shot as well. That would be — the scenes would be crazy. I would 100 percent give Nate a shot because Nate’s a ‘G,’ man. I said it even after the fight, he is who he is. He’s one of the guys — the game’s never changed him. If that does happen, then Nate’s definitely getting the shot.”
Diaz’s bout with Chimaev will be the last on his UFC contract and the assumption is that he’ll most certainly be testing free agency after a very vocal 2022 up until this point. Despite that, UFC President, Dana White, has already stated that the winner of the bout does make sense as the next title challenger at 170 pounds.
UFC 263 in June 2021 marked Diaz’s last appearance in the Octagon, suffering a five-round unanimous decision loss to the new champion, Edwards (watch highlights).
For complete UFC 278 results and coverage click here.