BREAKING: Nate Diaz – Leon Edwards booked for UFC 262

Tonight we learned that UFC 262 is getting quite the co-main event. ESPN’s Ariel Helwani broke the story tonight that Stockton’s own Nathan Diaz (20-12) is going to be taking on Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) in the co-main event on May 15th.

While the fight is big news in itself, what’s really interesting is the details. Diaz and Edwards will be the co-headliner, but the fight will be five rounds. This is the first non-title and non-main event five round fight in UFC history.

Leon Edwards got his wish in a quick turnaround after his fight with Belal Muhammad. Edwards had been out of the cage for almost two years when he returned to the UFC a few weeks ago.

“Rocky” looked really good in the first round and even rocked Muhammad with a headkick. However, right as the second round started, Edwards accidentally poked Muhammad in the eye.

Muhammad was unable to continue and the fight was ruled a No Contest. Since Edwards took no damage and he had only fought once since July of 2019, he asked the UFC for a quick turnaround. Leon Edwards got his wish.

UFC return for Nate Diaz

Nate Diaz is without question one of the biggest stars in the UFC. However, it’s been a while since we’ve seen him inside the octagon. The last time we saw him was during his BMF title fight with Jorge Masvidal.

That fight at UFC 244 started rough for Diaz, but he was starting to come on as the fight entered the third round. After the third round was over, a ringside doctor called a stop to the action due to a cut over Diaz’s eye.

Since then, we haven’t seen Diaz inside the octagon. The UFC tried setting up a couple of different fights for Diaz last year, but nothing ever materialized. Diaz has wanted to get back in there against a top guy and he’s getting that in Leon Edwards.

Edwards is ranked in the top three at welterweight. If Diaz is able to pull off a victory at UFC 262, it would vault him straight into the title picture at 170 pounds. This is a tremendous co-main event for UFC 262.

UFC Matchmaker: Stephen Thompson – Leon Edwards

The UFC‘s welterweight division is in a very interesting spot at the moment. Just over a week ago, one of the top contenders in the division, Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC), made his return. However, the fight ended in a No Contest early in the second round.

After the fight at UFC Vegas 21 was over, Edwards said that he wanted a title shot next. While most of us knew that him getting a title shot was unlikely, Edwards pushed for it. Then we got the news that UFC 261 is being headlined by the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. 

With the title fight booked, it’s now time to try and pair up all of the other top contenders at 170 pounds. Initially, the UFC wanted to pair up Leon Edwards with Colby Covington (16-2). Covington is the top ranked welterweight while Edwards is currently ranked third.

This fight would be a great fight to determine the next challenger for the UFC 261 winner. However, Covington has continued to say that he has no interest in fighting Edwards and wants to wait for the winner of Usman/Masvidal.

In reality, I wouldn’t be surprised if the UFC gives Covington the next shot without him fighting prior. With that, where does that leave Leon Edwards? Well, I think the best fight would be looking at the fifth spot in the rankings and pairing him with Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-4-1).

Will the UFC book Edwards – Wonderboy?

Wonderboy has had to play the role of welterweight gate keeper his last couple of fights. First the UFC gave him Vicente Luque and then they gave him Geoff Neal. Both young and dangerous knockout artists who were being built up as the next top contenders.

However, Wonderboy picked both of them apart. Now, Wonderboy is on the path for another shot at the UFC welterweight title. Wonderboy has been calling for a fight with Leon Edwards and it makes perfect sense to pair these two up now.

In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Wonderboy said that he deserves a title shot more than Edwards. Well, when you consider the competition, it’s hard to argue. This would be a fun and technical matchup that would say a lot about both men.

If Covington won’t take the fight, the UFC should do what they can to book Edwards – Wonderboy.

Leon Edwards seeking May UFC return; who makes sense for him to fight?

Leon Edwards

It’s been just over a week since UFC Vegas 21. In the headliner, Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) made his highly anticipated return against Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC). Edwards was looking for a performance that would show the world he’s ready for a UFC title shot.

In the first round, Edwards looked sensational. His striking looked crisp and he wobbled Muhammad badly with a headkick. However, the second round would end the fight in a way that nobody wanted to see.

When Edwards was setting up a kick, he pushed his hand out and it poked Muhammad badly in the eye. After Muhammad wasn’t able to continue, the fight was ruled a No Contest. After nearly two years away, the UFC return for Leon Edwards ended with no clarity.

Last week, Edwards appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. He talked about the fact that he was going to go on to finish that fight and the eye poke just delayed the inevitable. Edwards said he has no unfinished business with Muhammad and wants to move forward.

With that, Edwards was seeking a UFC title shot. However, we now know that UFC 261 is being headlined by the rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Edwards told Rogan that he was seeking a May return which would line him up right after that title shot.

Who should the UFC pair Edwards with?

The fight that makes the most sense to me is the fight with Colby Covington (16-2). Covington is the former UFC interim champion and he doesn’t have an opponent at the moment. However, Covington has said he’s only interested in a matchup with Masvidal or Usman. 

In an ideal world, UFC 261 would happen with Covington and Edwards fighting in a title eliminator the next month. However, there are many hurdles to clear for that one. The next logical option for Edwards with be Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (16-4-1).

Wonderboy has been calling for a fight with Edwards a lot over the last couple of months. This would be a fun matchup and would get Edwards in there with a top guy. I can’t see any other option besides these two for Edwards. It’ll be interesting to see what the UFC decides to do for Leon’s next fight.

UFC: Colby Covington wants either Usman or Masvidal next; not interested in Leon Edwards

UFC, Colby Covington

Former UFC interim welterweight champion Colby Covington (16-2) is currently waiting for his next opportunity inside the octagon. The last couple of months have been very frustrating for Covington as he’s seen a couple of opportunities fall through.

Last September, Covington dominated Tyron Woodley. After the fight was over, the UFC spent months trying to book the matchup between Covington and Jorge Masvidal (35-14). However, the fight never got done.

At UFC 258, Kamaru Usman (18-1) successfully defended his welterweight title. After the fight was over, Usman called out Masvidal for a rematch. The champion said he wasn’t satisfied with the way he won the first fight. After that callout, the promotion shifted gears.

Instead of booking Covington – Masvidal, the focus became booking Masvidal in a rematch against Usman. Last night, we learned that UFC 261 is going to be headlined by the Usman and Masvidal rematch in front of a full crowd in Jacksonville, Florida.

What’s this mean for the former interim UFC champion?

In reality, this is actually great news for Colby Covington. Originally, the UFC was looking at booking Usman and Masvidal as the coaches of The Ultimate Fighter. With that, they likely weren’t going to fight until the end of the year.

Covington told Submission Radio yesterday that he only wanted to fight Masvidal or Usman next. He’s not interested in Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) and believes Edwards should fight Belal Muhammad again after what happened at UFC Vegas 21.

If Masvidal and Usman were to coach TUF, Covington would likely be out most of the year if he waited. However, Covington did say he would take a fight if the UFC were to step up and make him a respectable offer.

With the promotion booking this fight for next month, I believe all sides will win here. I believe that Colby Covington is likely going to fight the winner. I wouldn’t be shocked if the UFC still did The Ultimate Fighter with Covington and the winner.

What’s next for Leon Edwards after UFC Vegas 21?

Leon Edwards

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) finally got his chance to return to the octagon. Edwards was riding an eight-fight win streak, but hadn’t been able to compete since July of 2019.

Originally, Edwards was supposed to take on Khamzat Chimaev. However, after Chimaev pulled out due to COVID complications, Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) stepped in. Muhammad had just fought and won at UFC 258 about a month ago.

This was a golden chance for Muhammad to prove that he belonged with the elites of the division. Meanwhile, Leon Edwards was out to show that he was still one of the best in the UFC despite the lengthy layoff.

Early on in the fight, Leon Edwards looked fantastic. His striking was incredibly crisp and he looked very sharp. His pressure was also bothering Belal Muhammad who is normally the one that pushes the pace in his fights.

In the second round, Edwards went to throw a kick and accidentally poked Muhammad in the eye. It was a horrible poke that caused the UFC Vegas 21 main event to be ruled a No Contest. So after that long layoff, Edwards’ return ends with a No Contest.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

Despite Belal Muhammad wanting the rematch, I don’t believe that’s what the UFC will do. This matchup was one of circumstance due to Edwards needing an opponent with just about three weeks time.

Now that the fight is done, I believe the promotion will pair Edwards up with someone near the top. To me, there is one opponent that is perfect for Leon Edwards. That opponent is former UFC interim champion, Colby Covington (16-2).

Covington needs an opponent right now and it doesn’t appear that he’s getting the next UFC title shot. Edwards isn’t getting that shot either so why not pair them up. These guys are number one and three in the world and it makes all the sense that they fight each other next.

After UFC Vegas 21 No Contest, where does Belal Muhammad go from here?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 21, Belal Muhammad (18-3, 1 NC) finally got the shot he’s been asking for. Muhammad has felt disrespected by many in that he’s never in the conversation regarding future welterweight champions.

He’s been wanting a shot against some of the UFC‘s elite guys to prove that he belongs in that conversation. Well, after Khamzat Chimaev fell out a couple of weeks ago, top three ranked contender, Leon Edwards (18-3, 1 NC) needed a new opponent.

Immediately, Muhammad threw his name in for the UFC Vegas 21 headlining spot. This was his chance to prove that he belongs with the elites of the division. On Saturday night, he wanted to show the world that he could be a future champion in the welterweight division.

The first round started out pretty rough for Muhammad. Normally, he’s the guy who is pushing the action, however, it was Leon Edwards that had him backing up. Edwards landed a headkick that wobbled Muhammad badly in the first round.

Muhammad survived, but it was a rough round as he was outstruck by Edwards pretty clearly. In the second round, Muhammad was going to look to build some of his own momentum, however, the fight came to an abrupt halt.

Leon Edwards went for a body kick, but to give himself space, he had his hand out straight. One of his fingers went deep into the eye of Muhammad for an accidental eye poke. It was a bad one and it caused the UFC Vegas 21 main event to end in a no contest.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 21?

It’s clear that after UFC Vegas 21 that Belal Muhammad wants another crack at Leon Edwards. Their fight ended with no one getting their hand raised and it feels like there is unfinished business between the two men.

However, I don’t believe the promotion will head in this direction. Muhammad got this spot by circumstance and unfortunately for him, I don’t see the UFC rebooking this fight now. So with that, what’s next for Belal Muhammad.

I firmly believe that Muhammad should get a top ten opponent after this unfortunate turn of events. I think we should look at UFC 260 to find Muhammad’s next opponent. On the main card, Tyron Woodley and Vicente Luque are scheduled to fight.

I believe that a great fight for Muhammad would be the winner. Either he will get a rematch with Luque or he will get a shot at a former UFC champion. Both of these would be a great next fight for Belal Muhammad.

UFC Vegas 21 main event ends in a No Contest

Leon Edwards

In the main event of UFC Vegas 21 we saw a big time matchup in the welterweight division. One of the best welterweights in the world, Leon Edwards (18-3), was making his long anticipated return against the surging Belal Muhammad (18-3).

2020 didn’t go according to plan for Leon Edwards. Entering the year, Edwards appeared close to a UFC title shot having won eight fights in a row. He was scheduled to headline a fight night in March against former champion Tyron Woodley. However, the fight was scrapped due to the pandemic.

Edwards ended up not competing at all in 2020 after entering the year with such promise. He was looking to turn that bad fortune around tonight in his return. However, he wasn’t going to have an easy return taking on Belal Muhammad.

Just over a month ago at UFC 258, Belal Muhammad defeated Dhiego Lima. Muhammad made it clear that he felt he needed to be more respected in the division and he wanted some top ranked guys in his next fight.

After Khamzat Chimaev fell out of this main event slot against Leon Edwards, Muhammad jumped right in. Tonight, at UFC Vegas 21, Belal Muhammad had a golden chance to put his name directly in the title picture.

UFC Vegas 21 Recap

Round 1

There was no touch of the gloves to kick off the UFC Vegas 21 main event. Leon Edwards came forward immediately with pressure. Edwards opened the striking with a nice body kick. Muhammed tried throwing some hooks early, but was a bit out of range.

Edwards cracked Muhammad with a big 1-2 before he forced a clinch. Muhammad was able to reverse the position and landed a good elbow on the break. Edwards hurts Muhammad bad with a huge headkick.

Muhammad was wobbling around, but Edwards couldn’t put him away after Muhammad forced a clinch. The speed and length was really bothering Muhammad here in the first round.

A big body kick lands for Muhammad. Edwards answers with a big body kick of his own. Another nice 1-2 lands for Edwards and he follows it with another big straight left. The round comes to a close and it’s 1-0 Edwards at UFC Vegas 21.

Round 2

Normally Belal Muhammad is the one pressuring but early at UFC Vegas 21, Edwards was the one forcing the issue. Both men exchange jabs to start the striking in the second. Edwards goes for a body kick but accidentally pokes Belal Muhammad in the eye.

It’s a bad eye poke and this fight appears over. Referee Herb Dean waves the fight over after Muhammad cannot continue. The UFC Vegas 21 main event is going to end in a no contest.

Leon Edwards and Leon Edwards fight to a No Contest – Eye Poke (Round 2)

UFC Vegas 21 Preview: Leon Edwards – Belal Muhammad

Leon Edwards

Tomorrow night in the headliner of UFC Vegas 21, we will see a highly anticipated welterweight matchup. The third ranked contender in the world, Leon Edwards (18-3), is finally makes his return to the UFC to take on the surging Belal Muhammad (18-3).

There is no questioning that Leon Edwards is one of the best welterweights in the UFC. Edwards has tremendous striking and a very good overall game. Not too mention the fact that he’s currently won eight fights in a row.

However, we haven’t seen Edwards compete since July of 2019. Edwards was scheduled to face Tyron Woodley last March, but the pandemic cancelled the fight. After the UK locked everything down, Edwards was unable to train which didn’t allow him to take another fight.

Finally, the UFC booked him against Khamzat Chimaev in December. However, that fight fell through three times due to COVID-19. Now, all the hurdles have been cleared and Edwards will finally get his chance to compete again.

Standing in his way is Belal Muhammad. While Edwards wasn’t able to compete in 2020, Muhammad continued his own winning streak last year. Muhammad has now won four in a row and he’s 8-1 in his last nine inside the octagon.

Belal Muhammad just fought at UFC 258, but when Khamzat Chimaev fell out, he jumped at this golden opportunity. If Muhammad is able to beat Edwards tomorrow night, he will shoot right to the top of the UFC‘s welterweight rankings.

UFC Vegas 21 Prediction

When it comes to the main event tomorrow night, it’ll all come down to how Leon Edwards looks in my opinion. As mentioned, Edwards is one of the best welterweights in the UFC. His striking is on a completely different level than Belal Muhammad’s.

His wrestling and grappling also looked much improved the last couple of times we saw him. Now, he’s had almost two years to prepare for wrestlers so we can imagine that his wrestling defense is pretty good which he will need tomorrow night.

Belal Muhammad needs to come forward with immediate pressure tomorrow. He needs to try and land takedowns, but ultimately he needs to make this a dirty fight. If this fight is at range, it won’t go well for him. He can certainly land, but he doesn’t want to be in a kickboxing match with Leon Edwards.

I believe Belal Muhammad is a very underrated welterweight, but I just don’t think he’s better than Leon Edwards. I believe Edwards will be able to avoid the takedowns, land good elbows in close range, and outstrike Muhammad to get the win at UFC Vegas 21.

UFC Matchmaker: Khamzat Chimaev – Neil Magny

One of the biggest stories in the UFC during 2020 was the rise of Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). Chimaev made his debut on Fight Island in July and dominated his way to a victory. Just ten days after his debut, Chimaev fought again on Fight Island.

This time, Chimaev fought at his natural weight class of 170 pounds. Chimaev took on prospect Rhys McKee and completely dominated him as well. Two incredibly dominant UFC victories in the span of ten days and the hype train was off and running.

From there, Chimaev went back to 185 pounds and fought Gerald Meerschaert. Meerschaert had been in there with some really tough guys and was supposed to test Chimaev. After dominating his first two fights with his wrestling, Chimaev showed off his striking against Meerschaert.

Just 17 seconds into the first round, Khamzat Chimaev knocked Gerald Meerschaert out. The UFC then had trouble getting Chimaev a fight. Incredibly, the promotion settled on an opponent and it was the third ranked welterweight in the world, Leon Edwards (18-3).

The matchup was scheduled for December. However, Edwards came down with COVID and the fight was cancelled. The UFC tried rebooking the fight two more times, however, Chimaev’s own troubles with COVID cancelled the fight both times.

Chimaev was recently flown to the US for medical care due to his complications from COVID. The UFC is now looking at a June return for Chimaev who is currently ranked fifteenth in the welterweight division. I believe they are already sizing up the perfect opponent for Chimaev.

UFC booking Chimaev – Magny?

While the UFC was looking for an opponent for Chimaev in 2020, there was one welterweight who was vocal about his desire to fight him. That welterweight was Neil Magny (24-8). The Haitian Sensation has been very vocal about wanting to fight Chimaev for a while now.

The two have recently gone back and forth on social media which has added fuel to the fire. The UFC is going to need an opponent for Chimaev to come back to and there aren’t many that are better for him that Magny.

Magny had a very good 2020 going 3-0. He is coming off of a loss to Michael Chiesa, however, he’s still a fixture in the UFC’s top 15 at welterweight. The fight makes sense from a rankings perspective and there’s heat there. In reality, this was probably a more logical next step for Chimaev anyway.

UFC: Are the talks between Usman and Masvidal already in trouble?

Yesterday, there was some solid momentum when it came to the direction of the UFC‘s welterweight division. The champion, Kamaru Usman (18-1), and his management met with Dana White this week and laid out what they wanted next. It was clear that they wanted the rematch with Jorge Masvidal (35-14).

Talks were picking up quickly and both men appeared set to not only rematch but coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter. All of this started coming together after UFC 258. After Usman successfully defended his title, he took to the microphone and called out Masvidal.

The two men fought at UFC 251 and Usman won by decision. However, Usman was not happy with the performance and he wanted to fight him again to prove a point. The point that he wanted to prove was that he could finish the UFC‘s BMF. Masvidal and his management seemed to be down for the deal as well.

However, momentum has seemed to hit a snag today. The champion tweeted out, “I’m not feeling generous anymore. Anyone can get it.” Masvidal then responded with his own tweet saying, “Cold feet when you heard we said yes.” It now appears that the UFC has hurdles to getting this done.

What will the UFC do?

It is unclear at this time what has happened that broke down the talks. The UFC was gearing things up and a deal could have been finalized in the next few days. However, that no longer appears to be the case. There are a number of things that could’ve happened.

One interesting wrinkle to this situation is the Leon Edwards news. Leon Edwards is now booked to fight Belal Muhammad on March 13th. With Edwards taking on Muhammad, that leaves Colby Covington (16-2) without a dance partner. Covington and Usman had arguably the fight of the year in 2019.

When it comes to the UFC, Kamaru Usman holds the most leverage as the champion. Dana White all but said that they will follow what Kamaru Usman wants. If Usman wants to fight Covington next, Covington will be the guy. If it’s Masvidal, Masvidal will be the guy. Both would be worthy challengers to the champion.

For Masvidal, the fight could be billed as the fight we should have seen in July. Both guys on a full training camp to see who the better man is. For Covington, the fight could be billed as the rematch after a classic first fight. Both situations would sell for the UFC.

It’s worth noting that the promotion had a tough time booking Usman – Masvidal the first time. Masvidal actually lost the fight to Gilbert Burns. However, Burns’ positive COVID test brought the fight back to Gamebred. At the end of the day, It all comes down to what Usman wants. Whoever the champ wants, the champion will likely get.