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Leon Edwards set to 'make a mockery' of Nate Diaz in UFC 263 showdown – Michael Bisping

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England’s Edwards is undefeated since a 2015 loss to current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, and fellow Brit Bisping said that the Birmingham native is one big win away from earning himself a shot at the gold later this year.

Edwards has been on the cusp of a title shot for more than a year. 

But the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic saw his main event bout with former champ Tyron Woodley in London scrapped last March.

And his only bout since, a matchup with Belal Muhammad, ended in unfortunate circumstances after an accidental eye-poke from the Brit forced the bout to be stopped and ruled a no contest.

During that time, former interim champion Colby Covington has been installed as the UFC’s number-one contender to face Usman, who knocked out Jorge Masvidal in their world title rematch earlier this year.

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Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz

Michael Bisping predicts Leon Edwards will ‘make a mockery’ of Nate Diaz at UFC 263 (Image: GETTY)

It means Edwards remains on the outside, looking in. But Bisping said that could all change this weekend.

Speaking to Express Sport, the only Brit to capture UFC championship gold said Edwards faced the perfect opportunity to secure a shot at the gold later this year.

“Leon Edwards is a tremendous fighter, and a tremendous athlete, and he’s doing everything he needs to do – he’s winning fights,” he said.

“What’s he on, an eight-fight win streak with one no contest?  He’s beating people, he’s getting better, he looks dangerous, he looks deadly. 

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“The only thing I think, personally – and this isn’t an insult – his star power isn’t there, certainly in the States.

“Obviously in the U.K. if you’re an MMA fan, you know Leon Edwards. But in the U.S., the hardcores probably know he is. 

“But the majority of the fanbase are probably casuals who tune in for Conor McGregor fights and championship pay-per-views and stuff like that. 

“They all know who Nate Diaz is, of course, and there’s a huge percentage of pay-per-view buyers who are tuning in who are going to be fired up for the people’s main event, which is Nate Diaz.”

Bisping said it’s Diaz’s star power that will prove to be a blessing for Edwards, with their specially-arranged five-round welterweight feature bout at UFC 263 on Saturday night serving as the perfect launchpad for a title challenge.

Bisping said there could be opportunities for either man if they win this weekend.

“God bless him, taking on Leon Edwards, that’s a very, very ballsy move,” Bisping said of Diaz. 

“But if he beats Leon, he gets a title fight off the back of that, for sure. 

“But, what I think’s going to happen is Leon Edwards goes out there and just makes a mockery of him to be honest. 

“I think he’s going to beat him very badly, I do.

“Now of course, Diaz, you never know. I said that against McGregor. I said McGregor’s gonna destroy this guy the first time, and we know what happened. 

“But I think, on paper, when I look at the skillsets, when I look at the size of Leon Edwards and what he’s capable of, I fail to see a way that Diaz can win.

“And then, Saturday night, after that fight, everyone in America knows who Leon Edwards is, and they all want to see him fight again. 

“So all he’s got to do is wait on the sidelines, maybe six months, and he gets a title shot. … (Beating Diaz would mean) he’d then have the star power to go along with his skills.”

BT Sport 1 will show UFC 263: Adesanya v Vettori 2 exclusively live on Saturday 12th June with coverage of the main card, featuring Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz, from 3am. For more info go to bt.com/sport/ufc

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

Leon Edwards faces ANOTHER fight postponement as injury forces Nate Diaz out of May UFC showdown

Leon Edwards faces ANOTHER fight postponement as injury forces Nate Diaz out of May UFC showdown

English bruiser Leon Edwards has suffered yet another setback in his bid for welterweight gold after his much-anticipated bout with Nate Diaz was postponed by a month due to an injury suffered by the Stockton slugger in training.

He may be undefeated in his past nine outings in the UFC cage but Edwards has endured some rotten luck in his bid to climb the ladder in the talent-rich 170lbs division in recent times – and through little fault of his own.

The latest setback was revealed overnight amid reports that his high-profile fight with Nate Diaz, which was scheduled for May 15, will now take place a month or so later later than advertized after Diaz was understood to have suffered a minor injury during training, necessitating the postponement of the welterweight scrap.

The new date for the rare five-round non-main event is June 12, where it will now take place on the card to be headlined by Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori’s middleweight title bout. Deiveson Figueiredo again defends his flyweight crown against Brandon Moreno at the same event.

No information has been released as to the nature of Diaz’s injury. 

Edwards’ run of bad luck has extended more than a year. In March 2020, his UFC London headline bout opposite Tyron Woodley was shelved on the week of the fight due to Covid-19 guidelines instituted by the UK government – with Edwards also unable to accept a short notice fight with 170lbs champion Kamaru Usman due to similar travel restrictions. That fight ultimately went to Edwards’ rival, Jorge Masvidal.

He was then slated to face the undefeated Khamzat Chimaev late last year, but that too was canned due to both men contracting Covid-19 – with rescheduling complicated by the extent of Chimaev’s illness.

Edwards then accepted a fight against the tough Belal Muhammad in March, only for the fight to be declared a no-contest early in the second round following an accidental eye-poke delivered by the Brit.

It is now approaching two years since Edwards has competed in a full-length fight, and he remains unbeaten since 2016. 

As for Diaz, the fight with Edwards will be his first outing in the cage since losing the ‘BMF’ title bout to Masvidal in late 2019 in a fight which was called off by the cageside doctor owing to a series of cuts on the Californian’s face.
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Author: RT
This post originally appeared on RT Sport News

'I have unfinished business with Masvidal': UFC star Leon Edwards eyes 3-piece & soda revenge 'inside or outside the cage' (VIDEO)

'I have unfinished business with Masvidal': UFC star Leon Edwards eyes 3-piece & soda revenge 'inside or outside the cage' (VIDEO)

UFC welterweight Leon Edwards confesses he has “unfinished business” with contender Jorge Masvidal and division champ Kamaru Usman after his fist fight with the former and first fight with the latter ahead of UFC Las Vegas 21.

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Brit Edwards will make his octagon return after 20 months out against Chicago-based Palestinian Belal Muhammad, a late replacement for Covid-stricken original opponent Khamzat Chimaev, this Saturday, but admits he has unresolved issues with baddest motherf*cker belt holder Masvidal after their back stage brawl in London.

Masvidal broke away from a live interview after his UFC Fight Night 147 knockout win over Darren Till to answer Edwards’ trash talk with a ‘3-piece and a soda’ punch combination that left the Kingston-born fighter cut below the eye, and Edwards believes their business has been unresolved.

Asked if he had unfinished business with Masvidal and welterweight division champion Kamaru Usman in an interview with RT Sport, the 29-year-old replied:“100 percent.”

He continued: “I’ve been pushing for the Jorge fight since that incident happened. He turned me down, making excuses. But his day will come.

“We’re pushing towards him. After this fight, we’ll look to Usman. But Jorge will happen, inside the cage or outside the cage. No matter what.”

Usman and Masvidal could fight towards the end of this year as the Nigerian champ aims to stamp out any doubt about his win over the latino in July last year by given Masvidal a full training camp. Asked about his preferred victor in that matchup, Edwards replied with a laugh: “Neither of them.”

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Edwards takes his eight-fight win streak into his fight with Muhammad, promising to take his frustrations out “on Belal’s head” after suffering three cancellations of his fight with Russian-born Swedish fighter Khamzat Chimaev when both contracted Covid-19.

UFC head honcho has promised Edwards a title shot against Usman should he win in style against Muhammad, which will mean a rematch against Usman, the man who handed him his only career loss when they fought in 2015.

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