Nate Diaz is all set to make his return to the Octagon against Leon Edwards at UFC 262 on May 15th, 2021. After months of speculations in the MMA fraternity about the Stockton native's return, ESPN's Ariel Helwani confirmed that the younger Diaz brother will clash with Rocky in a five-round bout.
However, there is a 'twist' in the tale, as the Nate Diaz vs Leon Edwards fight will be the first-ever five-round non-title co-main event in the history of the UFC.
Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler will headline the card with the UFC lightweight belt on the line. Nate Diaz, true to his style, has already taken shots at the two lightweight main-eventers.
With Diaz finally returning to the UFC after the iconic clash against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244 for the BMF belt, there is a lot of hype and excitement surrounding Nate Diaz's first fight in a year and a half.
What Nate Diaz means to the promotion as well as to the sport is evident from the fact that, despite being inactive, he has landed a fight against No. 3 ranked welterweight Leon Edwards.
Let's take a look at the three possible ways the bout can go.
#1 Nate Diaz puts on a dominant performance
There isn't much that Nate Diaz cannot do inside the Octagon. Despite never holding a title, Nate Diaz is a force to be reckoned with in both the welterweight and lightweight divisions.
Such is his reputation that Conor McGregor's coach John Kavanagh has referred to Nate Diaz as a "monster" inside the cage which is also why he was against a rematch between the two.
There is a high possibility that Nate Diaz shows up on May 15th and drops Leon Edwards with a Stockton Slap or two and picks up the win without any hints of ring rust. Meanwhile,
Leon Edwards, who has been campaigning for a welterweight title shot for a while now, had to first settle with a fight against Khamzat Chimaev. When that got cancelled on three occasions owing to the COVID-19-related issues, 'Rocky' faced Belal Muhammad instead.
The fight ended in a 'No Contest' due to an accidental eye poke from Edwards. There is a huge possibility that if Diaz wins the fight against Edwards, he will be next in line to fight Kamaru Usman for the 170-lbs belt.
#2 Leon Edwards picks up where he left off
Before catching Belal Muhammad with an accidental eye poke, Leon Edwards was landing one precise strike after another in the main event of UFC Vegas 21. There was also a massive head kick in the first round that visibly rocked Belal Muhammad, but did not drop him.
If not for the eye poke, Leon Edwards might have walked away with the win and a possible title shot. Having landed such a huge opportunity to complete what he started, that too against an opponent like Nate Diaz, Leon Edwards could seal a title shot after all this time.
#3 A doctor's stoppage
The UFC has witnessed some controversial endings to fights of late. Leon Edwards' last fight ended in a 'No Contest' because of an accidental eye poke. Before that, the bantamweight title fight between Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling came to an end because of an illegal knee, resulting in a DQ win for 'Funkmaster'.
Ironically, Nate Diaz's last fight also ended controversially, with the ring doctor declaring him unfit to continue in his fight against Masvidal. Fans will be hoping that there we not be robbed of a decisive result when Nate Diaz faces Leon Edwards.