The UFC has officially announced that Nate Diaz will make his promotional return against Leon Edwards at UFC 262. The Stockton-based fighter has always been a huge draw at the box office, and his fellow welterweight contenders have reacted to his comeback.
While some of the competitors were surprised with the fight announcement, some felt as though the UFC is doing them an injustice.
No.5 ranked welterweight contender Stephen Thompson took to Twitter to express his confusion over the UFC's decision to pit Diaz against Edwards.
'Wonderboy' put on a clinical performance in his last outing opposite Geoff Neal. However, the 37-year-old also suffered a hand and knee injury during the fight, supposedly keeping him out of action for a significant period of time.
After the Belal Muhammad vs. Leon Edwards fight was ruled no contest, Thompson had suggested that 'Rocky' would challenge Muhammad in a rematch soon.
No.6 ranked welterweight contender Michael Chiesa was also shocked by the huge announcement. 'Maverick' posted his reaction to Twitter and expressed his surprise.
"Anyone who says they saw this coming is a liar," Chiesa wrote.
Chiesa is on a four-fight win streak, having defeated the likes of Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, Rafael dos Anjos and, most recently, Neil Magny.
Belal Muhammad also seemed disappointed with the news of Edwards being Nate Diaz's opponent. 'Remember The Name' was hoping to compete against the Brit in a rematch after their previous fight was ruled no contest.
With Nate Diaz set to return, how does the title picture fare in the welterweight division?
Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman is set to fight Jorge Masvidal in a rematch at UFC 261. Both fighters competed against each other at UFC 251 last year, where Usman comfortably defeated Masvidal via unanimous decision.
Whoever emerges victorious between Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz is likely to be next in line to have a go at the welterweight championship. However, the UFC will have to wear its matchmaking hat wisely.
In addition to Edwards and Nate Diaz, the likes of Colby Covington, Stephen Thompson and Gilbert Burns are also among a mix of contenders included in the title picture of the 170-pound weightclass. The welterweight division now looks more stacked than ever, and matchmakers may have some tough time while booking fights.