Nate Diaz is set to make his long-awaited Octagon return after agreeing to face Leon Edwards at UFC 262 on May 15.
Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards will make history as they are booked for a five-round bout in the co-main event. This will be the first time a non-championship fight has been scheduled for five rounds outside of the main event.
It's no secret that most fans will be tuning in to UFC 262 to see the return of the beloved Octagon badboy. It's safe to say that fans – as well as the UFC matchmakers, frankly – will be rooting hard for a Nate Diaz victory.
However, they could be in for an unpleasant surprise if Leon Edwards continues on with his winning ways. Let's take a look at five ways Leon Edwards could spoil Nate Diaz's UFC comeback.
#5 Nate Diaz is hungry, but so is Leon Edwards
Nate Diaz hasn't fought since losing to Jorge Masvidal in a showdown for the UFC BMF title. His last win came in 2019 when he fought former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.
Of course, Nate Diaz is always gunning for a win every time he steps inside the Octagon. However, a victory over Leon Edwards would be more important to Nate Diaz, given where he is at at this stage of his career.
Leon Edwards is just as motivated as Nate Diaz is. He won eight in a row from 2016 to 2019. His most recent fight against Belal Muhammad ended in a no-contest.
If Edwards could add Nate Diaz's name to his hitlist, he could book his ticket to a title match against Kamaru Usman.
#4 Leon Edwards's youth may lead him to victory
Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz would be a classic matchup of youth vs. experience. Unfortunately for Diaz, history tells us that the young up-and-comer usually defeats the wily veteran.
Diaz (20-12) has 10 more fights on his resume than Edwards (18-3-1NC). Edwards, however, is definitely not inexperienced. The Brit has been with the UFC since 2014 and a win over Diaz could propel his career to new heights.
On top of that, Leon Edwards is only 29 while Nate Diaz is already 34. In other words, Edwards is still in his athletic prime while Diaz is past his.
#3 Nate Diaz could suffer from ring rust
Nate Diaz will be coming back from a long layoff against a legitimate contender in Leon Edwards. While he has a solid track record of successfully returning after lengthy breaks, the current situation makes it more complicated for Nate Diaz.
Unlike in past years, the availability of gyms and training facilities have been limited due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's highly unlikely that Nate Diaz could've trained as much as he wanted to during his absence from the UFC. Only time will tell whether ring rust due to inactivity will be a factor in his upcoming fight.
#2 Leon Edwards can outstrike anyone
In his last fight, Nate Diaz proved his toughness when he absorbed Jorge Masvidal's punishing blows and remained conscious throughout the duration of the fight. Diaz started to bleed profusely after getting hit by a nasty elbow to the forehead. He wanted to continue but the cage-side doctor wouldn't allow him to.
Unlike Jorge Masvidal, Leon Edwards isn't exactly known for his knockout power. It's safe to assume that if Nate Diaz can survive Masvidal's viscious flurries, he can take anything that Leon Edwards dishes out without a problem.
However, Leon Edwards doesn't need to knock Nate Diaz out to spoil his much-anticipated return. All he has to do is outscore Diaz for five rounds. Edwards has proved in the past that he can trade blows with talented strikers, holding notable wins against Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone and Rafael dos Anjos.
#1 Leon Edwards is dying to introduce himself
Remember when Nate Diaz trolled Leon Edwards on Twitter earlier this year?
"And who the f---k is this?" Diaz captioned a tweet he posted regarding Edwards.
Leon Edwards will have the opportunity to introduce himself to Nate Diaz in person. If Edwards can add another loss to his opponent's record, Diaz will never forget who he is.