A matter of weeks after Edwards gets his long-awaited opportunity at redemption and the 170-pound title on Aug. 20 in Salt Lake City, Utah, his last opponent, Diaz, will fight in the octagon for one final time. The promotion announced this past week that it will be Diaz vs. one of the welterweight division’s top-ranked contenders in Chimaev at UFC 279 on Sept. 10.
Mixed reactions have followed in response to the matchup with several in the community being intrigued, but at the same time under the impression that there were better options out there for each. The unbeaten 11-0 Chimaev has risen through the ranks at record speeds and arguably could have waited for his shot at the winner of Edwards’ title tilt against the champion, Kamaru Usman. Instead, he’ll look to hand Diaz his third consecutive loss, making him 1-4 in his last five outings.
“If I had to put money on it I’d probably go Khamzat but I’d love Nate to get it done,” Edwards told media backstage at UFC London (h/t TheMacLife). “He’s done so much for the company and I wish they gave him a veteran, a nice fight to bow out to. To give an up-and-coming guy that’s had four or five fights in the UFC, and a wrestler guy as well — I think they f***** up. They should’ve gave him a better fight. But I would love Nate to get it done. But as I said, if I’m a betting man I’d probably go with Khamzat.”
Edwards and Diaz met in a non-title five-round affair in June 2021 at UFC 263. Dominating for 24 minutes of the contest, Edwards was struck with a clean punch in the waning moments, giving Diaz the chance to score an all-time upset. Unfortunately for Stockton’s finest, Edwards managed to survive and earn the unanimous decision nod.
The assumption for Diaz in his post-UFC life is that he’ll dabble in the boxing world potentially for a match with Jake Paul. If that does end up coming to fruition, Diaz has full support in the form of his most recent successor.
“You can’t not like Nate,” Edwards said. “He is who he is. I’ve watched this guy’s coming up at 16 or 17 when I was getting into MMA. I wish him well in his career and whatever he wishes to do next. [Boxing] Jake Paul or wherever he decides to go.”
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