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 books Jacare Souza – Andre Muniz

The UFC has finalized a fun middleweight matchup that will take place in May. Combate was the first to report that the promotion was finalizing a matchup between Brazilian middleweights, Jacare Souza (26-9, 1 NC) and Andre Muniz (20-4).

The matchup will take place at UFC 262 in Houston. For Muniz, this is a massive opportunity for him to fight a legend of Brazil. Muniz will be making the walk for the third time in the UFC on May 15th.

In 2019, Muniz appeared on Dana White’s Contender Series. He earned himself a contract with the UFC with his submission victory over Taylor Johnson. Since joining the promotion, Muniz is 2-0.

In his last fight back in September, Muniz submitted Bartosz Fabiniski in the first round by armbar. The submission victory was the thirteenth submission so far in the career of Muniz. With his skills on the ground, it should be a fun matchup at UFC 262.

Last UFC chance for Jacare?

Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is a legend in MMA. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion has fought some of the best in the world and he holds many impressive victories during his career.

He’s knocked out Derek Brunson twice and knocked out former UFC champion, Chris Weidman. In addition to those wins, Jacare also holds a submission victory over Bellator champion, Gegard Mousasi.

However, Jacare has hit a bit of a rough patch. His last fight came back at UFC 256 where he was knocked out by Kevin Holland. That loss was the third loss in a row for Jacare Souza. He’s 1-4 in his last five.

At 41 years old, we could be nearing the end of the line for Jacare. If he cannot pickup the win at UFC 262, this might be the last time we see Jacare inside the octagon. Both men have a lot on the line on May 15th which should make it a fun matchup.

UFC: Justin Gaethje is now the odd man out at lightweight

Last week, we learned that UFC 262 will be headlined by the vacant lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira. The pairing was a little shocking considering neither of those two are the UFC‘s top two ranked lightweights.

The two top spots currently belong to Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje (22-3). Poirier is currently negotiating with the UFC and they are looking to book him in the trilogy fight with Conor McGregor in July.

With Poirier off the table, Gaethje is the top guy. Gaethje was the interim lightweight champion when he made the walk to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254. The Highlight fell short, but he still maintains his top ranking.

In an interview that was posted this morning, Gaethje expressed his confusion with the turn of events. Gaethje said, “I can’t talk about it (the lightweight picture) right now. I’m sure me talking about it is the reason I’m here. Maybe I’ve pissed someone off.”

The UFC had been working on a matchup between Gaethje and Michael Chandler. However, once Khabib said he was staying retired, the promotion shifted gears and booked Chandler against Oliveira which doesn’t make sense.

What’s next for Justin Gaethje in the UFC?

I personally think it’s a little ridiculous that the UFC is crowning a new lightweight champion and neither one of those guys are ranked at the top of the division. It seems completely backwards and Justin Gaethje should be incredibly frustrated.

As mentioned, Gaethje was the former interim champion. Charles Oliveira has won eight fights in a row, but only one of those guys is inside the UFC’s top ten. Michael Chandler has had one fight inside the UFC and it was against someone outside the top five.

Neither one of those fighters are more deserving than Gaethje in my opinion. However, the UFC saw things differently. Now, what happens from here? Well, it appears that Gaethje is going to be on the sidelines for some time.

One fight for Gaethje would be against former lightweight champion, Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13). That would be the fight I’d try to make for Gaethje. However, there’s no guarantees that gets made. At the moment, Gaethje is stuck between a rock and a hard place with the UFC.

UFC books Jack Hermansson – Edmen Shahbazyan

UFC 262 is getting a fun one at middleweight for the main card. The LA Times was the first to report today that Jack Hermansson (21-6) will be taking on “The Golden Boy” Edmen Shahbazyan (11-1).

Of course, we learned last night that the card was being headlined by the vacant lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira. Today, we learned that UFC 262 will take place in Houston in front of a crowd at the Toyota Center.

Jack Hermansson had a huge win halfway through the year last year against former title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum. With that win, Hermansson was 5-1 in his last six and appeared just a fight or two away from a UFC title shot.

However, that is when he ran into Marvin Vettori. The two men fought in December and Vettori won a decision in an absolute war. It was a tough defeat for The Joker, but he’s ready to get back into the swing of things. He’s getting one of the UFC‘s brightest young prospects in his next matchup.

Will the UFC hype come back?

There was so much hype in 2020 around Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan has all of the skills to be a world champion and he’s only 23 years old. In his first big step up in competition, Shahbazyan demolished Brad Tavares.

After that win, the UFC decided to give him a headlining spot against Derek Brunson. Shahbazyan ultimately fell short and it was a humbling moment for the young fighter. Frankly, I’m a little surprised by this booking decision.

Shahbazyan is still incredibly young and the UFC believes he can be a star. Giving him Jack Hermansson off of his first loss is not an easy rebound matchup. In fact, it’s a brutal matchup, but Shahbazyan does have all the skills needed to get the win. Either way, it should be a fantastic matchup on May 15th.

BREAKING: UFC books Michael Chandler – Charles Oliveira for the lightweight title

As I’m writing this, I feel like my head is spinning from all of the UFC news this evening. The promotion finalized a couple of incredible main events in the bantamweight division, then we got the announcement that Khabib Nurmagomedov is staying retired. 

Just when you thought the news was over, the UFC had other plans. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto has reported that the headliner of UFC 262 on May 15th will be for the lightweight championship. Former Bellator champion, Michael Chandler (22-5) will take on Charles Oliveira (30-8, 1 NC).

The lightweight division has been in a state of limbo over the past few months. Dana White has been trying to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to come back for one more fight, but the UFC‘s lightweight champion has stuck to his guns and is staying retired.

With that, it’s time to move on. Charles Oliveira is getting the title shot that he’s been holding out for. Oliveira has turned down multiple fights because he’s wanted to fight for the UFC title and the promotion is granting him that wish.

Oliveira has gone on an incredible run in the UFC‘s lightweight division. Do Bronx has won eight fights in a row including one over former interim champion, Tony Ferguson. Seven of those eight wins have been finishes.

UFC title shot for the former Bellator champion

Michael Chandler was the biggest MMA free agent signing in 2020. After knocking out Benson Henderson to close out his Bellator contract, all of the top promotions ended up in a bidding war for his services.

Ultimately, Chandler wanted to face the best competition which is why he signed with the UFC. He made his debut with the promotion back at UFC 257 in the co-main event against Dan Hooker.

Chandler closed as a betting underdog, however, Chandler went out and knocked Hooker out in the first round. With that performance, he showed everyone in the UFC that he’s not here just to take part.

Just this week, there were rumors surrounding Chandler potentially fighting Justin Gaethje next. However, Gaethje recently said that he wants a minimum of 12 weeks before his next fight. With that, the UFC shifted gears and now Oliveira and Chandler will battle it out for the lightweight title on May 15th.

UFC booking Tony Ferguson – Beneil Dariush

Tony Ferguson, UFC

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a big time matchup in the lightweight division. MMA Junkie was the first to report today that the promotion is close to finalizing a matchup between Tony Ferguson (25-5) and Beneil Dariush (20-4-1).

The proposed matchup will take place at UFC 262 on May 15th. For Beneil Dariush, this is the fight that he’s been wanting. Dariush just got into the top ten of the UFC‘s lightweight rankings and he’s been vocal about fighting a big name.

For the last few years, Dariush has been fighting some of the tougher lightweights that are just outside of the top ten. He’s currently on a six-fight win streak that includes wins over Diego Ferreira, Drakkar Klose, and Drew Dober.

Originally, Dariush was supposed to fight Charles Oliveira late in 2020. However, the UFC pivoted and Oliveira ended up fighting and defeating Tony Ferguson. Left without a big name, Dariush took a tough rematch against Diego Ferreira.

Dariush has been incredibly impressive over the last few years. From his grappling to his toughness, he’s proven that he’s not an easy out in the UFC‘s lightweight division. He has title aspirations, and this is a huge fight that can get him closer to his goal.

Can Ferguson bounce back at UFC 262?

For years, Tony Ferguson was considered the boogey man of the UFC’s lightweight division. He won 12 fights in a row on his way to becoming the interim lightweight champion. However, he never earned the distinction of undisputed champion.

Unfortunately for Ferguson, every time he was supposed to fight for the undisputed belt, the fight fell through. Most recently at UFC 249. Ferguson was supposed to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov. However, COVID-19 prevented Khabib from traveling so Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje for the interim title.

Ferguson lost for the first time since 2012. After that, El Cucuy went on to lose to Oliveira at UFC 256. Now, Ferguson appears at a crossroads. If he wins this fight, it gets him right back on track. However, if he loses at UFC 262, we might be nearing the end of his great run inside the octagon.

UFC books Edson Barboza – Shane Burgos

Edson Barboza

Just this week we learned that Edson Barboza (21-9) had signed a new deal with the UFC. After being frustrated for a couple of months with the promotion, Barboza was able to come to terms on a new deal that’ll keep him in the UFC for several more fights.

The promotion had already been working on Barboza’s next matchup when the deal was agreed to. There had been rumors out there about potential matchup and now we know exactly who Edson Barboza will be fighting and when.

Combate was the first to report that the UFC was booking Edson Barboza against Shane Burgos (13-2). The matchup will take place at UFC 252 which occurs on May 15th. It will be Barboza’s third matchup at featherweight.

Barboza has always had championship potential. One of the flashiest strikers in the UFC with incredible power and speed. However, he’s always ran into roadblocks at lightweight on his journey to a title.

Barboza decided to drop down to 145 pounds last year. He made his debut back in May of 2020 at featherweight and lost a razor thin split decision to Dan Ige. He followed that up by defeating Makwan Amirkhani and now he’s in the UFC‘s top 15 at featherweight.

Fun matchup at UFC 262

Barboza is currently ranked 14th and his next opponent comes in at 12th in the UFC’s featherweight rankings. Shane Burgos has been sensational since he joined the promotion back in 2016.

Since signing with the UFC, only two men have defeated Burgos and they’re both top contenders at featherweight. Outside of those two losses, it’s been smooth sailing for Burgos and that includes a decision win over veteran, Cub Swanson

Burgos always brings the fight and he showed that in his last fight against Josh Emmett. While he didn’t get his hand raised, the fight was on the shortlist of Fights of the Year for the UFC in 2020. This matchup between Barboza and Burgos promises to be fireworks on May 15th.