Leon Edwards is hoping to capture the biggest win of his MMA career later tonight (Sat., June 12, 2021) at UFC 263 live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, when the talented welterweight contender meets the unflappable Nate Diaz in a five-round, non-title fight.
Edwards, who is coming off a no contest against Belal Muhammad this past March, is currently riding an eight-fight win streak. While “Rocky” wasn’t able to cash in on a title shot against current 170-pound champion Kamaru Usman he still locked down a massive fight with one of the biggest names in the sport. Diaz hasn’t fought since Nov. 2019 but that doesn’t take away from his popularity and capabilities inside of the Octagon.
“He’s one of the biggest names in the UFC at the moment,” Edwards told UFC.com. “For me to go out there and take him out would put me right where I need to be, which is fighting for the world title. That’s my focus, going out there, putting my best foot forward, performing to the best of my abilities and getting the victory.”
While Edwards is a massive favorite to defeat Diaz and push his current win streak to nine there’s no such thing as a sure thing in the sport of MMA. After all, Diaz is one of the most experienced fighters on the UFC roster today and a savvy veteran who is dangerous wherever the fight goes. If Edwards doesn’t pay close attention to every detail he could find himself in serious trouble in the later frames of the five-round fight.
“I think with a person like Nate, he’s going to bring the best out of you,” said Edwards. “He’s right there in front of you, you don’t have to go looking for him, and you know what he’s going to bring to the table. He’s been doing it now for his whole career, his patterns are the same. This is going to be a guy that brings the best out of me, and I cannot wait to show that to the world.”
If Edwards is able to decisively beat Diaz this weekend in Arizona then he puts himself in a great position to fight for the UFC welterweight title next. No. 1-ranked contender Colby Covington may get the first crack at Usman, but “Rocky” would be right behind him. It would be a dream come true for Edwards to fight for the UFC title and try to avenge his previous loss to Usman.
“It would be amazing to go back and defeat the guy who defeated me five years ago,” Edwards explained. “To win the belt off him would just be an extra bonus. It would be good to go back and capture the world title from Kamaru.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 263 fight card right HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.