At UFC 263, there will be three three-round fights featured on the main card, but there will not be three world title fights. That’s because one of those three fights will be the first time a bout that is neither a main event nor a title fight will be scheduled for five rounds in the UFC. This fight will feature #3-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards and proven superstar Nate Diaz.
What hadn’t been directly addressed is why exactly this fight was selected to be a five-round fight when such allowances have never been made for a non-title non-main event. UFC President Dana White chalks it up to the old adage of “ask and you shall receive” (transcription via Adam D. Martin).
“They wanted to fight five rounds. It was easy,” Dana White told Yahoo Sports. “That’s what they were scheduled for in the fight before (at UFC 262), too.”
Two fighters well known to stand and trade, Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz has all the makings of a potential Fight of the Night. The name value Diaz carries certainly goes a long way, too. All in all, a five-round fight between Edwards is Diaz is just what the doctor ordered as a final accoutrement to a well-prepared card.
“If you look at the card, every Saturday night I compete with something, whether you gotta take your wife out to dinner or there’s a new movie coming out, whatever it is, there’s always something we compete with on Saturday,” White said. “When you look at this card, you’ve got Adesanya vs. Vettori, you got Figueiredo vs. Moreno which was in the running for ‘Fight of the Year’ last year. If Weili Zhang vs. Joanna (Jedrzejczyk) hadn’t happened, they would have won. Then you have Edwards vs. Diaz. I mean the card is ridiculous. It’s a great card, it’s stacked from top to bottom, and (Edwards vs. Diaz) should have an impact on the pay-per-view.”
UFC 263 takes place Saturday, June 12, 2021, from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The card will be headlined by Israel Adesanya defending his middleweight championship against Marvin Vettori.