The UFC president recently confirmed to Submission Radio that should Nate Diaz defeat No. 3-ranked welterweight Leon Edwards on June 12, he will receive the next 170-pound title fight behind No. 1-ranked Colby Covington.
Diaz will enter the cage as a sizeable underdog. And if Edwards defeats Diaz, he will receive a title shot behind Covington, White said.
Diaz’s fight against Edwards will be his first match since his “BMF” title bid in November 2019 at UFC 244. Edwards is riding a nine-fight unbeaten streak.
Diaz and “Rocky” will square off in a featured five-round contest on the pay-per-view’s main card Saturday night.
“Colby is the number one contender,” White said via MMA Mania. “We did the (Jorge) Masvidal fight, (Kamaru) Usman wanted that fight back. Colby Covington, the fight with Colby and Usman is one of the best fight’s I’ve ever seen in my life. He’s the number one contender. It’s the fight to make. Whoever wins is next after Colby.”
A fight has yet to be announced between Covington and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
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Diaz Has Fought for 1 UFC Title, Competing for the Lightweight Belt in 2012
Diaz has been a staple on the UFC’s roster since winning The Ultimate Fighter 5 lightweight tournament in 2007. He has fought 25 times for the promotion, bouncing between the 155 and 170-pound divisions.
Diaz competed for a UFC title once, taking on then-lightweight champion Benson Henderson in 2012. He was unable to secure gold, losing the fight by unanimous decision. For Diaz to earn another crack at a UFC strap, he will have a tough task ahead of him in Edwards. Rocky hasn’t lost in over five years since dropping a decision to Usman in 2015.
At the time of this writing, Edwards is listed as a -600 favorite over the Diaz, who is sitting as a +450 underdog as per Bet 365. Betway has Rocky at -500 and Diaz at +350.
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Diaz Explains Reason for Fighting Edwards
When Diaz vs. Edwards was announced, some were scratching their heads trying to understand Diaz’s reasoning for taking the fight. Rocky is as dangerous as they come in the welterweight division and he is still largely unknown by casual MMA fans.
However, Diaz believes Edwards is doing a “good job” at 170 pounds, and because of the timing, Diaz took the fight.
In a recent interview on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Diaz explained by he decided to fight Edwards.
“I was waiting for this whole world to speed back up,” Diaz said via MMA Fighting. “I wasn’t really waiting, I was just trying to get on a good card where everything was happening again, where there’s full crowds, and it was time to go and he’s the one who is winning and doing a good job. He’s got an impressive little record and career going on so let’s take that s***.”