According to UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, Nate Diaz spoiled a combatant’s chance at fighting for gold.
Diaz fought No. 3-ranked 170-pound contender Leon Edwards in June 2021 at UFC 263. It was the promotion’s first-ever five, five-minute round non-title, non-main event fight.
“Rocky” rode the momentum of a 9-fight unbeaten streak into the Octagon while Diaz was ending his fighting hiatus. It was Diaz’s first contest since losing to Jorge Masvidal in their “BMF” contest on November 2019 at UFC 244.
When the fight was made, most in the MMA community believed Diaz was overmatched against the surging Englishman. And with a win over the beloved MMA superstar, Edwards would likely stamp his ticket to a title fight.
Well, Edwards won the fight and quite dominantly, earning a unanimous decision. However, Rocky was rocked by Diaz in the closing minute of the fight and nearly finished.
And the fact that Edwards came so close to losing to Diaz meant no title fight, according to Usman. Rocky is now scheduled to fight No. 6-ranked welterweight Jorge Masvidal at UFC 269 on December 11, 2021.
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Usman Called Edward’s Diaz Bout an ‘Audition,’ Said Rocky ‘S** the Bed’
Recently speaking with former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier on “DC’s” YouTube channel, Usman gave his thoughts on Edwards. He said that Rocky’s fight with Diaz was an “audition” for a title fight, which he failed.
“Absolutely because that was an audition,” Usman said via MMA Junkie. “You audition for me then I decide it’s you or that guy. Myself and the promotion, we’ll sit down and we’ll say, ‘I like this audition tape. Let’s go ahead and pick him next’ and he went out there and he was auditioning and for a while, he did OK, but then, all of a sudden, the 25th minute, you s*** the bed. You can’t do that. So that’s what forced the promotion’s hand and my hand because this is business now.”
Usman continued, “Someone has to keep it real with this guy. At the end of the day we know – let’s be honest here, we know this is a business. This is a partnership between us and the promotion. It’s a partnership, you got to give them something to work with. You gotta give them something to sell and they have thrown you bone after bone after bone. Let’s just be honest, based on that last performance, you can’t go out there and do that with Nate Diaz. You can’t do that.”
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Usman Defends His Title at UFC 268 Against Colby Covington
The Nigerian Nightmare will put his 170-pound title on the line for the fifth time, rematching Colby Covington in the main event of UFC 268 on November 6, 2021, in New York City.
The two met in December 2019 at UFC 245 in what was one of the most exciting welterweight championship showdowns in the promotion’s history. It was a tit-for-tat war and Usman came out on top, winning by fifth-round TKO.
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