The first five round, non-title, non-main event in the history of the UFC has been booked for UFC 262 on May 15th. in Houston, Texas — as the streaking Leon Edwards welcomes fan favourite veteran, Nate Diaz back to the Octagon in a potential welterweight title-eliminator.
Making his first Octagon appearance since UFC 244 in November of 2019, Diaz returns following a third round doctor’s stoppage defeat to Jorge Masvidal at the Madison Square Garden event for the symbolic BMF championship.
Set to make his second Octagon appearance of the year, Team Renegade BJJ & MMA staple, Edwards headlined UFC Vegas 21 in February against Belal Muhammad on short notice, with the matchup ending in a ‘No Contest’ in the opening stages of the second round after Edwards landed an unintentional eye poke, which left Muhammad unable to continue. News of the matchup was first reported by ESPN MMA reporter, Ariel Helwani.
Planning an Octagon come back for the opening quarter of the year, Diaz will make his twenty-sixth UFC walk, attempting to gazump Edwards’ number-three rank in the welterweight pile with a victory.
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5, Diaz has scored notable career victories over the likes Manvel Gamburyan, Kurt Pellegrino, Josh Neer, Melvin Guillard, Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, Gray Maynard, Michael Johnson, Anthony Pettis, and in his most infamous victory — became the first to defeat former two-weight champion, Conor McGregor in the UFC via a second round rear-naked choke at UFC 196.
Undefeated in his last nine, Birmingham native, Edwards finally made his Octagon return at the UFC Apex event last month, following a lengthy layoff dating back to July of 2019 where he took home the most notable victory of his professional career — nabbing a unanimous decision over former lightweight titleholder, Rafael dos Anjos.
Hoping to secure either a title rematch against Kamaru Usman or a long-overdue showdown with arch-rival, Masvidal — a victory over someone as reputable and recognisable as Diaz would leave Edwards simply undeniable in regards to his first title challenge under the organization’s banner.
UFC 262 takes place on May 15th. from the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas — with a vacant lightweight title clash between surging submission ace, Charles Oliveira, and former three-time Bellator 155-pound kingpin, Michael Chandler slated to take headlining honours.