Slated to take co-main event honours at UFC 262 on May 15. from the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas — number-three ranked welterweight contender, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards has claimed that if opponent, the returning, Nate Diaz underestimates him “it’s going to be a bad night” for the Stockton favourite.
Scheduled for the first five-round, non-title, co-headliner in the history of the UFC, Edwards makes his second Octagon appearance of the year, following a ‘No Contest’ against short-notice replacement, Belal Muhammad in March at UFC Vegas 21.
Taking the first round on all three judges’ scorecards, Edwards inadvertently landed an eye poke on the Chicago native in the opening minute of the second frame, with the latter immediately dropping to the Octagon canvas, reeling in pain as referee, Herb Dean waved off proceedings.
Making his first Octagon walk since November of 2019. The Ultimate Fighter 5 victor, Diaz headlined UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden against Jorge Masvidal — dropping a third-round doctor’s stoppage in a symbolic BMF championship main event, after he had suffered notable lacerations to both above and below his right eye.
Speaking with ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani ahead of his May date with Diaz, Edwards claimed that if the Californian is underestimating him or has taken the fight because he doubts his ability, well then a long night in the Octagon will be awaiting him.
“If he (Nate Diaz) is, then it’s going to be a bad night for him, you know,” Edwards replied when asked if Diaz was underestimating him. “I don’t know — let’s see, I don’t really care if he is or not, it doesn’t make a difference. Once the cage is locked, then we’re going to find out.“
Detailing the potential significance of a five-round limit between the two rather than a three frame fight, Edwards remained cool and explained how it’s just a longer period of punishment for Diaz to absorb.
“I feel good, my last four fights have been main events,” Edwards said. “We’re preparing for main events for the last two years, so it’s perfect for me. My style is — I can move my style to a five-round fight, you know. I feel good about the five-rounds, and (it’s) just longer punishment for Nate than anything, you know, that’s it.“
Undefeated in his last nine consecutively, prior to his ‘No Contest’ against Muhammad, Edwards’ last Octagon outing came in the main event of UFC Fight Night San Antonio in July of 2019 when he scored a unanimous decision win over common-foe, former lightweight champion, Rafael dos Anjos. With the win — Edwards added the Brazilian to a winning column which includes the likes of Vicente Luque, Bryan Barberena, Donald Cerrone, and Gunnar Nelson.