It came as a shock to hear that Leon Edwards would be fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 262. Ahead of the fight, he explains how the bout came together, and predicts that he will get a finish over Stockton’s own.
The general consensus was that if Diaz was going to fight again, it would be against a big name opponent like McGregor or Masvidal. It seemed like the last person anyone expected to see him against, was Edwards.
Nevertheless the UFC announced this massive bout, seemingly out of nowhere. On top of that, it was not too far away, as the fight between the two is expected to take place in the co-main event of UFC 262, on May 15th.
Colby Covington Is A Weird Guy
One of the reasons this bout seemed to come out of nowhere, is that it appeared like Leon Edwards would be fighting Colby Covington next. However this is not the case, as Colby has continued his decision to sit out and wait for a title shot.
Speaking in a recent interview, Leon explained that the reason the Colby fight did not come together, was because the former interim champ is making odd decisions. Leon does not think this will work out for Colby in the end though.
“The man is weird. I don’t think you understand, he’s a weird man. I don’t know. He says he wants to wait. He’s waiting for a title shot. He feels like he was winning the Usman fight, he feels like he got cheated out of it, and he wants a title shot. He’s not willing to fight no one in the top five until he gets a title shot,” Edwards said.
“I ain’t really thinking about (Covington getting a title shot). I’ve got history with Masvidal, I’ve got history with Usman, so it’s a great storyline. Why would you give it to a guy coming off of one win, compared to a guy who’s coming off nine wins that has history with both men?”
Does Five Rounds Favor Edwards Or Diaz?
One of the interesting things about Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz, is that it will be the first non title co-main event in UFC history that is five rounds. The idea is that this favors Nate, who is known for pouring it on fighters later in fights.
Leon largely understands this sentiment from the fanbase, but thinks that it is not a problem in this case. He feels like he has the tools to not get finished by Nate, and even if the fight goes all five rounds, he will have beaten Diaz in the first three at a minimum.
“It’s just a longer punishment for Nate than anything… Everyone saying it benefits Nate because when he fought Masvidal (he said that) rounds four and five were where he was starting to turn on, so we’ll see,” Edwards said.
“If that’s his gameplan then it’s going to be a long first three rounds. Let’s say I go out there and batter him from pillar to post for three rounds, you only got two rounds to win. Let’s say he does win the two rounds, which he won’t, but let’s say he does win it, I still won the fight.
“I’ve never been stopped, never been submitted, never been knocked out, so I don’t understand what difference it will make. You can go to a decision and I’ll probably win a decision. So I’m coming into there to hurt him, I’m coming in there to put him away, I’m coming in there to prove that I am levels above these guys. I truly believe that.”
Leon Edwards Predicts A Finish
As much as he is preparing for a 25 minute war, Leon Edwards does not think the fight will go that long. In fact, while he does not think that Nate Diaz can finish him, Leon expects to get a finish over Nate.
He believes that he has the weapons in his arsenal to put a pressure on the younger Diaz brother, and put him away. If successful, Leon would be one of the few people to actually stop Nate.
“I believe (I stop him). I think my combinations of punches, elbows, and kicks is going to hurt him. My grappling, my cardio, I just think I’m the better man in all areas,” Edwards explained.
“I know he’s tough, I know he’s durable, I know he’s got great cardio, I know he’s got good cardio, but I believe you need more than that to beat me. I’ve worked so hard to get to this position. I’ve improved so much in the last year and a half, two years that I just can’t see Nate Diaz beating Leon Edwards and that’s just it.
“Every time I imagine the fight it just plays out in one of two ways. He can either come and try to pressure, or he can try what he did against Masvidal, which is wait for the fight to go later and try to turn it around. But either way, I win either way.”
Who do you see winning between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards?