It seems perennial welterweight contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards is certainly interested in the prospect of welcoming former WEC and Strikeforce champion, Nick Diaz back to the Octagon – in a bout he’s labelled, “fantastic“””.
Edwards, who’s yet to feature in the Octagon since his victory over former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night San Antonio in July last year – found himself opponent-less amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Originally scheduled to headline a UFC Fight Night London event in March – Birmingham-based contender, Edwards was pencilled in opposite former welterweight titleholder, Tyron Woodley over five-rounds, until the entire card was shelved.
In Edwards’ place – who remained in the U.K. – in drafted now upcoming title challenger, Gilbert Burns who would score a massive unanimous decision win over Woodley at the UFC Apex in May.
Speaking on Submission Radio recently, Edwards was asked for his thoughts on a potential pairing with the reportedly returning elder Diaz brother – and appeared to be all ears in regards to the possible matching.
“That fight (versus Nick) looks fantastic,” Edwards explained. “He’s a big name in the sport, he’s been around for a long time, so that fight would be fantastic. It would be better for him (to fight me). If you come in and beat me, a guy on an eight-fight win streak, that would put me in line for a title shot, right? So I think it would be a great fight.“
“And, to come and beat like the new guy, which is me, the up and coming guy that’s dominating everyone, beating everyone, and for him to come back and challenge me – he’ll never beat me – but it’s a good fight, interesting fight,” Edwards said.”And, that fight, I one-hundred per cent want it, I want to compete against Diaz.“
Diaz, who turned 37-years-old in August – is “100%” targeting an Octagon return in early 2021 according to his manager, Kevin Mubenga. The Stockton native has recently completed a fourteen-week training program, following by a test weight cut – the first time he’s dropped to 170-pounds in five years.
While Edwards believes a victory over Diaz would cement his title contender status – he doesn’t appear to view the potential pairing as a particular banana skin – confident of his success.
“I think Nick is Nick, right?” Edwards said. “”Him and his brother (Nate Diaz) are pretty much the same. Technically, they’re pretty much the same kind of fighters; boxing-based, Jiu-Jitsu-based, cardio-based, and they kind of fight the same. So, I think Nick is Nick, and he’d come out the same. There won’t be nothing new, it’ll be the same way of the fight, and that’s just the way their bodies are designed to fight and where they compete. I know if me and him compete, I know I’ll win, and that’s the main thing.” (H/T BJPENN.com)
Prior to his win over the aforenoted, dos Anjos – Edwards has compiled a massive seven-fight unbeaten run, which includes victories over Icelandic grappler, Gunnar Nelson, future Hall of Famer, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, Albert Tumenov, and Vicente Luque. Dropping his most recent defeat, the Team Renegade BJJ & MMA mainstay suffered a unanimous judging loss to current division kingpin, Kamaru Usman.