Fans are going to have to wait a bit longer to see Nate Diaz return from his 1 ½ year absence as his fight against Leon Edwards will now take place next month at UFC 263 and not on May 15 as originally planned.
Yahoo Sports was the first to report that Nate Diaz had to pull out of the fight due to an undisclosed injury. Diaz has become widely respected for his consistency in showing up to a fight once being officially booked. Even though he is the party who has pulled out of his fight against Leon Edwards originally scheduled for May 15, Diaz’s reputation remains firm because the fight will still move ahead one month later.
This is great news for Leon Edwards who, at least for the time being, has finally dodged bad luck’s bullet. Edwards had a very stressful 2020, being unable to make it to the Octagon for the entire calendar year after one cancellation or fight rejection after another. When he finally did make his return to competition in March of this year, the fight against Khamzat Chimaev’s short-notice replacement Belal Muhammad ended unceremoniously and ghastly after an accidental eye poke from Edwards.
Leon Edwards took to social media to react to the postponement, and he is taking the news in stride.
The fight between Diaz and Edwards was originally scheduled to be the first non-title five-round co-main event in UFC history. It is currently unclear how many rounds the fight will be now that it has been rescheduled, especially since UFC 263 already has two five-round title fights scheduled between Adesanya/Vettori (middleweight) and Figueiredo/Moreno (flyweight) both slated for the event.
Kamaru Usman’s Manager Makes Colby Covington An Offer After Postponement
Back when Khamzat Chimaev withdrew from his March 13 fight against Leon Edwards, UFC President Dana White and Leon Edwards both named Colby Covington as the ideal person to step up and fill in for Chimaev. Covington refused to perform “charity” work for the UFC and rejected the fight. He would later throw in the claim that he was too busy spending private time with UFC strawweight Polyana Viana to answer this call.
At the time, Usman was open about how this was a bad decision by Covington, with the champion believing this was an opportunity for his rival to secure his spot as the #1 contender.
“I think the best way for you to solidify your title shot is to go out there and fight?,” Usman said of Covington in an interview with MMA Junkie. “And what better way than to knock off the #3 guy? He’s making his way up. He’s making his claim to the throne, that he deserves that shot. What better way than to knock him off? He failed to do that, and I think he made a tremendous mistake in that.”
Soon after news broke that Diaz was out of the fight against Edwards, Usman’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, informed ESPN that this was a second chance for Covington to fight Edwards and rightfully earn a title shot. Abdelaziz also directly stated as much himself on Twitter.
“Colby Covington chance to make himself number one contender.”
It appears the Usman camp believes that Covington’s demands for a title shot are the stuff of entitlement while Dana White and Covington point to the fact that he is the current #1 contender in the rankings. Many fans will also point to the fact that Usman just provided a rematch to Jorge Masvidal, who had not won a fight at all after losing to Usman at UFC 251. Therefore, rematching Colby Covington, who gave Usman a tougher fight and is ranked higher than Masvidal, doesn’t seem unreasonable after Covington at least picked up a win after his loss to Usman.
Nonetheless, this suggestion from Usman’s manager was apparently a bit rash, seeing as how Diaz is not out of the Edwards fight entirely but rather sidelined until the new date of June 12. As it happens, Abdelaziz revealed over the weekend that Usman would also like to compete on June 12 but against someone Team Usman deems more deserving than Colby Covington: #7-ranked Michael Chiesa.
What do you make of the current welterweight title picture? Should the Edwards/Diaz winner be next? Michael Chiesa? Or Colby Covington?