Next Saturday’s UFC 262 card took a major hit when it was reported last night by Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole that Nate Diaz is out of his scheduled fight against Leon Edwards. Instead, the matchup will be rescheduled for June 12 as part of the UFC 263 card.
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) May 4, 2021
Edwards made the right call
Edwards (18-3) likely could have fought someone else with more than a week’s notice. Colby Covington could have been an option, although “Chaos” appears to be dead set on a title shot against champion Kamaru Usman. Then there was Belal Muhammad, who was the recipient of an Edwards eye poke in March which resulted in a “no contest.” But considering Edwards has had four canceled fights over the last year, he made a wise decision waiting to fight Diaz in June.
Like I mentioned previously, this matchup makes a lot of sense. Not only does Edwards get a notable name on his resume, but it’s absolutely a winnable fight for him. Why risk fighting Covington or Muhammaed with a potential title shot at stake? Diaz is a much more favorable matchup for the UK fighter and comes with more notarity.
UFC 263 needed this
While UFC 262 took a blow, this really boosts next month’s UFC 263 card. Don’t get me wrong, the Israel Adesanya vs. Marvin Vettori rematch should be interesting, but I don’t see many picking against “The Last Style Bender” in that title fight. The co-main event features a rematch between one of the best fights of 2020, having flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo rematch Brandon Moreno. But neither are needle movers and aren’t appealing to casual fans. Adding a name like Diaz to the card really adds intrigue to the event and it serves as a nice lead-in for July’s mega trilogy between Dustin Poirier and Conor Mcgregor at UFC 264.
Ali Abdelaziz tells Brett Okamoto that Kamaru Usman wants to return at UFC 263 to face Michael Chiesa.#ESPNMMA
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) April 30, 2021
In addition, there have also been rumors about Usman’s interest in defending his title on UFC 263, potentially against Michael Chiesa. Having Edwards-Diaz on this event could potentially serve as a backup should there be any injuries in that fight.