Report: Nate Diaz vs. Leon Edwards Fight Set for UFC 262 as Co-Main Event

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 31, 2021

Nate Diaz is seen at a news conference for the UFC 244 mixed martial arts event, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, in New York. Masvidal is scheduled to fight Diaz Saturday, November 2 at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards have reportedly verbally agreed to a five-round fight at UFC 262 on May 15 at the Toyota Center in Houston.

ESPN's Ariel Helwani said Tuesday the bout will serve as the co-main event of a card also featuring a clash between Charles Oliveira and Michael Chandler for the vacant UFC lightweight title.

Edwards' matchup with Diaz comes after UFC was unsuccessful in trying to convince Colby Covington to take on Edwards, but he wouldn't agree for "undisclosed reasons," per Helwani.

The 29-year-old Jamaica native is coming off a no-contest with Belal Muhammad on March 13. An accidental eye poke early in the second round brought a premature end to the UFC Fight Night 187 main event.

Edwards had won his previous eight fights dating back to May 2016. It was an impressive run that included triumphs over Donald Cerrone, Gunnar Nelson and Rafael dos Anjos to climb the UFC welterweight rankings, in which he sits third.

His last loss came against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman in December 2015.

Edwards called out Diaz last month on social media, setting the stage for the high-profile clash:

Leon 'Rocky' Edwards @Leon_edwardsmma

Nate just dribbled for an hour about wanting to fight at 170 against winners... let’s see it then @NateDiaz209. 8 fight win streak and #3 in the world. Let’s go if you still think you're a real one https://t.co/PUaPfwtRPQ

Diaz, 35, last fought in November 2019 when he lost to Jorge Masvidal in a bout for the specially designed BMF belt. He'd defeated Anthony Pettis three months earlier in his first fight since 2016.

He told Helwani in early February he wanted to fight twice in 2021 at "minimum."

"I'm ready to get this show on the road. ... I'm just trying to get it going," Diaz said. "Last year, it was a real bummer."

His extended stretches of inactivity have made it impossible for him to climb the ranks in the middleweight division as it appeared he would after a March 2016 win over Conor McGregor.

Beating Edwards would jump-start his bid to enjoy a late-career resurgence.