Nate Diaz is finally back competing inside the UFC Octagon, and he’ll have top competition in his return. Late Tuesday night, Ariel Helwani of ESPN was first to report that Diaz has signed to fight welterweight contender Leon Edwards at UFC 262 in the co-main event. Helwani also added that this will be the first non-title five-round co-main event in UFC history, and it sees two men who took to social media earlier this year taking shots at each other.
Shortly after the news was announced, Diaz took to Twitter to seemingly confirm the news and gave props to the main event lightweight title fight between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira.
Check me out may 15th I’ll be headlining #ufc262 in Houston Texas I’ll also have the new UFC lightweight title fight on the card I need people to know these guys are they’ve been working very hard and I can’t wait to see who gets my old 👑 I’ll see uguys there 👊🏼
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 31, 2021
“Check me out May 15th I’ll be headlining #UFC262 in Houston Texas. I’ll also have the new UFC lightweight title fight on the card I need people to know these guys are they’ve been working very hard and I can’t wait to see who gets my old [crown] I’ll see u guys there.”
This will be Diaz’s first return to action since UFC 244 when he lost in the ‘BMF’ title fight against Jorge Masvidal due to a doctor’s stoppage. Diaz has long been a veteran of the sport, and the former lightweight contender burst into stardom when he defeated Conor McGregor on short notice at UFC 196 back in 2016, and then the two would run it back at UFC 202 with McGregor coming away with the majority decision victory. Since then, Diaz has fought just twice, going 1-1 in matchups against Masvidal and Anthony Pettis who he defeated at UFC 241.
For Leon Edwards, the fight against Diaz pits him up against one of the biggest stars in the UFC, and will most certainly give him the most attention he’s had in a fight during his respective career. Edwards will also put his eight-fight winning streak on the line against Nate Diaz, as he’s won 8 of his last 9 fights.
Back in February, Edwards was scheduled to meet Khamzat Chimaev in a high-stakes welterweight showdown, but Chimaev had to withdraw due to COVID-19 complications and Belal Muhammad stepped up to replace him. The fight between Edwards and Muhammad would end in a no-contest as Muhammad couldn’t continue after receiving an accidental eye poke from Edwards. Shortly after their fight ended, Muhammad called for a rematch, while Edwards called for a title shot.
It’s not the welterweight title fight he was expecting, as current champion Kamaru Usman is scheduled to face Jorge Masvidal in a rematch at UFC 261 in April, but it offers both Diaz and Edwards their own unique opportunities to make a respective statement inside the welterweight division.