The last time the MMA world saw Nate Diaz, he was vying for the “BMF” belt against Jorge Masvidal at Madison Square Garden in November 2019.
Diaz hasn’t competed since then, but he will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon against Leon Edwards in a five-round, non-title bout at UFC 263. The card will take place at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. in front of a capacity crowd.
According to the Stockton, Calif., native, it’s the ideal opponent and situation for him to fight again.
“I was waiting for this whole world to speed back up,” Diaz told said recent on ESPN’s SportsCenter. “I wasn’t really waiting, I was just trying to get on a good card where everything was happening again, where there’s full crowds, and it was time to go and he’s the one who is winning and doing a good job. He’s got an impressive little record and career going on so let’s take that s—t.”
Edwards is unbeaten in his last nine appearances but is coming off bout against Belal Muhammad that ended in a no contest when the Englishman rendered his opponent unable to continue with an accident eye poke in the second round. While “Rocky” isn’t the most high-profile matchup, Diaz still checks in as a significant underdog in the bout. During the interview, it was pointed out that most of his fellow fighters are picking him to lose to Edwards, as well.
Diaz had some strong words for all the doubters.
“That’s been my whole career is s—t like that,” Diaz said. “If any of the fighters, to all the fighters out there saying anything about me, if it’s not positive as a motherf—r, then shut the f—k up and f—k you. That’s what I think about you. That’s how my whole career has gone and been. If you ain’t got nothing nice to say, don’t say at all because that’s how I work, anyway. I don’t got nothing nice to say, I keep my predictions and all that s—t to myself because all those guys that are saying about me losing, they’re not s—t themselves.”
Now 36 years old, Diaz plans on making a statement against Edwards on Saturday night.
“I just want to come and put on a good show and get the job done,” Diaz said. “I hope everybody leaves with their head on their shoulders but I’m coming to kill for sure.”
A victory could present plenty of options for the popular veteran, including a quick title shot against reigning champ Kamaru Usman. A trilogy with Conor McGregor and a rematch with Masvidal remain interesting possibilities, as well.
“Every single day I’ve got new motivations, so we’ll see what happens after the fight,” Diaz said.