Edwards (18-3, 10-2 UFC) has had a rough year and a half. After several canceled matches in 2020, Edwards contracted Covid-19. He finally returned to action earlier this year, only to inadvertently poke late notice replacement Belal Muhammed in the eye, causing the fight to end as a no contest. Though Edwards is currently ranked third in the division, he has yet to see a title shot.
As Edwards prepares for a five-round war with fan-favorite Nate Diaz (20-12, 15-10 UFC), he knows that a decisive victory over the unranked star could cement his title contention. Speaking to UFC Arabia’s Farah Hannoun, Edwards opened up about what he needs to do at UFC 263. (H/T MMA Junkie)
“I need to go out there and I need to put him away,” Edwards told Hannoun. “He’s only been stopped once, and that’s all I need. He’s been stopped, he’s not no robot, he’s not no invincible man. He has been stopped, and I truly believe I will go out there and stop him again – and I cannot wait. My skill set will be too much for him in the standup. On the ground, my strength will be too much for him. And I can’t wait to go out there and let him feel that.”
Stopping Diaz with strikes is a tall order for any fighter since it’s only happened once, back in 2013. Still, Edwards believes that he will simply be too much for Diaz.
“I envision going out there and just battering him from pillar to post and getting the stoppage,” Edwards said. “I know he’s a tough, durable guy, and I just don’t think being tough and durable is enough to beat me. I’ve worked hard, and I’ve dedicated myself for a long time, and it’s now time for my results to show. I can’t wait to go out there and prove that.”
When asked about Diaz’s legendary cardio, Edwards was clear on his stance that it wouldn’t make a difference.
“I don’t believe so,” Edwards said. “I’ve fought many main events and this is probably my fifth main event that I’m preparing for, so I’ve been here before. I’ve done it. I don’t feel it favors him, I think he just takes more punishment all five rounds, and that’s all I see. Me going out there and putting my hands on him and to put him away. I need to go out there and prove to the world that I deserve the next title shot, and that’s what I’m going out there to do.”
Do you believe Leon Edwards will finish Nate Diaz?