Major Opportunity for Nate Diaz: ‘Could Make Sense’

Nate Diaz

Getty Nate Diaz poses on the scale during his weigh-in for UFC 202 at MGM Grand Conference Center on August 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

MMA superstar Nate Diaz has a big fight coming up next month and should he win, a major opportunity could be presented to the fighter.

Diaz is scheduled to fight No. 3-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards during UFC 263 on July 12 at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The two were originally supposed to square off this weekend at UFC 262, however the contest was postponed until UFC 263 as Diaz sustained an undisclosed injury, according to Yahoo Sport’s Kevin Iole.

Now, Diaz and “Rocky” will clash in the third bout of the PPV main card in June. The match will be five five-minute rounds, the first time in UFC history that a non-title bout which isn’t the main event is scheduled for five rounds.

Diaz is facing a tall task with Edwards. Rocky is one of the best 170-pounders in the world and was previously riding an eight-fight win streak before his last fight in March. He caught Belal Muhammad with an accidental eye poke at UFC Vegas 21 and the fighter was ruled a no-contest. Diaz is coming off a loss and hasn’t fought since November 2019 when he was defeated via doctor’s stoppage by Jorge Masvidal at UFC 244.

But, if Diaz gets the job done, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman appears willing to grant Diaz a title fight. Read on to see Usman’s comments.

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Usman Said If Diaz Has an Impressive Showing, Fight Him Next ‘Could Make Sense’

Kamaru Usman & Jorge Masvidal

GettyKamaru Usman punches Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261.

If Diaz has a “spectacular” performance at UFC 263 against Edwards, he could find himself competing for UFC gold. Diaz has fought for a divisional UFC title once before. He fought then-lightweight champion Benson Henderson in 2015 and lost by unanimous decision.

Speaking with ESPN recently, Usman named several fighters that he’s looking at as a possible opponent, including Diaz. He mentioned Edwards, Diaz, as well as a possible fight with Marvin Vetorri at middleweight should he defeat 185-pound champ Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 263.

Usman said:

I think [UFC 263] is an important night for these fights to play out… If Leon looks spectacular, it would make sense. If Nate looks spectacular, that could make sense as well. With the whole Marvin and Israel situation, I don’t want to necessarily think about that because I’m 100% behind Izzy on that… But if there was a case to where I would actually go up and challenge for that [UFC middleweight] belt, it would be without Izzy being in the picture. So, if Izzy’s not champ, then it’s something that I could take a look at.

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Usman Earned a Stunning Victory Over Jorge Masvidal in His Last Outing

Kamaru Usman

GettyKamaru Usman poses on the scale during the UFC weigh-in at UFC APEX on February 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The Nigerian Nightmare” has been one of the most active UFC champions as of late, fighting three times in less than one year. Last July, he fought Jorge Masvidal at UFC 251 and won via unanimous decision. In February, he met Gilbert Burns inside the Octagon at UFC 258 and finished him by TKO in the third round.

In April, Usman put a stamp on his rivalry with Masvidal, rematching him at UFC 261 and knocking him out in the second round.

All in all, Usman has defended his welterweight strap four times.

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