UFC 263-Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz: “This is MMA’s new school-I can do it all.”

Since the inception of MMA, the perception of sport has changed dramatically, and the violence displayed on the ring has been perceived to be far less primitive than it once was. However, the MMA fan base may still be a tribe.

“Hardcore” fans often have a dislike for “casual” fans at risk of snobs, but before that. Leon Edwards‘Fight against Nate diaz More enthusiastic followers of the sport this weekend have some incredible rights.

Week-in-week-out watchers teach Birmingham-based Edwards to systematically and perhaps surgically dismantle superstars on the other side. UFC Secure the welterweight title shot against the Octagon, and he Kamaru Usman In the process. The belief in Diaz from casual viewers will benefit from his submission victory over Conor McGregor in early 2017 and the stockton native profile greatly enhanced by the subsequent classic rematch.

That belief in Diaz is also reinforced by Edwards’ impression, his almost reversal. UFC 263 Of the opponent. Jamaican-born Briton’s reputation is out of reach because it is almost entirely based on his ability within the ring. This is because he runs with diversity and clinical advantage.

Exclusive: How MMA Changed My Life – Leon Edwards

But that doesn’t mean that Edwards’ confidence isn’t obvious in the conversation. “Nate is a tough and durable opponent. He’s been like that since the beginning of his career. But I feel this is MMA’s new school-I can do it all. You can, “Edwards says this Saturday before the clash with Diaz.

“I can beat, I have great Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, kickboxing, boxing. It will be an interesting fight, [but] Wherever the fight goes, I’m ready. “

The contest has a historic element, and it’s the first time the UFC has transformed a non-title or non-main event match into a five-round fight.

“More beatings for him, longer punishment for him,” says Edwards (18-3). “He takes a lot, he can give as much as he can take. I know everyone is choosing me to win, obviously I also to win I’m choosing myself. I might go out there and smoke him in the rounds, or maybe a tough fight in the 5th round, but I always think I’m winning. “

Nate Diaz last fought in November 2019 and lost to Jorge Masvidal due to doctor suspension

(Getty Images)

Edwards, 29, was last defeated in 2015 when he was nominated as current welterweight champion Usman. He responded by winning eight times in a row, but his momentum was stopped by bad luck, not his opponent.

Edwards’ match against former welterweight king Tyron Woodley in London was canceled in the last moment due to a coronavirus pandemic after dominating former lightweight title holder Rafaeldos Anjos in July 2019. I did. In the months that followed, Edwards was scheduled to face the rising star Khamzat Chimaev three times, but the Russian-born Swedes were forced to withdraw each time to fight Covid. In March of this year, Edwards finally returned to the ring at the main event with Beral Muhammad (Chimaev’s successor). An accidental eye poke by Briton prevented an opponent from continuing.. The match ended as a no contest.

Edwards was then scheduled to face a quick turnaround with Diaz in May, but the Californians were injured and forced to abandon the match. But it will finally take place this weekend in Glendale, Arizona. That’s at least a plan.

“This is a fight that puts me where I belong,” said, benefiting from the unranked Starpower of Diaz, rather than the height of 36, and winning a rematch with Usman if he wins here. Edwards will say the £ 175 division. “Everyone knows Nate. This is the guy I grew up with – he and his brother [Nick]..

“After the March fight, I got frozen and the manager called me.” Do you want to fight Nate? “” Yeah … “Nate called the UFC and I Said I wanted to fight. I was like “perfect”. “

Edwards to defeat Donald Cerrone in 2018

(AFP via Getty Images)

For all the obstacles that have recently hampered Edwards’ momentum, his relative inactivity at that time is incomparable to that of Diaz. Americans last fought in November 2019, Lost to Jorge Masvidal due to doctor’s suspensionIt’s been three months since I outpointed Anthony Pettis in what was Diaz’s first fight in just three years.

Edwards, however, does not expect Diaz to hesitate this Saturday, given the experience of his opponents. Diaz (20-12) began his professional career at the age of 19 in 2004 and made his debut at the UFC in 2007. The meeting with Edwards at UFC 263 will be the 33rd professional match.

“I don’t think Nate will come out to fight timidity,” says Edwards. “He’s always in shape and starts fighting. [But] If I get out there and become myself, I win the fight – not to mention making a game plan to defeat him. If I could irritate him, it would be even worse for him.

“If I can help it, I don’t want to be bloody,” Edwards laughs, hinting at the typical nature of Diaz’s fight. “I’m going there to get rid of him and hurt him. I want to stop this fight and prove something to the UFC and the world.”

Edwards wants to undoubtedly leave him worthy of a rematch with Usman “in September or October.” Since the pair last fought, Usman (19-1) has won 12 consecutive victories, extending his winning streak to 18. In that run he claimed a welterweight belt and defended it four times. Break the record on the way..

So what has changed since Edwards fought Usman six years ago?

“Everything,” Briton claims. “I was 23 when I fought Usman. I was just in the UFC and I was learning how to do it. I’m a UFC veteran and I’ve been fighting in different styles. I feel that he is a completely different person from those days.

Kamaru Usman kept the title by knocking out Jorge Masvidal in April

(Getty Images)

“And everything Usman does is predictable. I don’t lie, he improved, but he fell in love with his blow, and I think it’s probably his downfall. “

The perception of winning the UFC title or winning Diaz is something Edwards hasn’t really noticed before. Instead, the focus of the 29-year-old throughout his career was to inspire and keep Birmingham children away from the streets. Where he spent a lot of his youth.. Edwards, along with Revadrian UFC Middleweight Darentil and former UFC Light Heavyweight Jimi Manuwa, are leading a youth mentoring program in which the UFC is affiliated with the British charity On Side.

“That means everything to me,” says Edwards. “I know where these kids are coming from, I went there and did it. This is my passion. I lost many friends in knife violence-whether they are doing it or being stabbed.. If I could save just one child, why wouldn’t I? “

Edwards tries to save momentum in the Octagon as he works to change and save young people outside the ring, but the setbacks he has faced in the last 18 months have led him to adapt his approach to sports. It came to be.

“What I have learned is not about connecting my life to results,” he says. “I connect my life to the work I put in. Setting goals for results has caused so many ups and downs in the last year and a half that it breaks me,” Edwards adds. .. , Despite his lack of clear defeat.

“So you have to refocus yourself and just control what you can control. Ultimately, when I fight, the results will come.

“If I sit down and mop and feel sorry for myself, the days go by. I have to keep improving.”

Watch the UFC® 263: ADESANYA vs. VETTORI 2 main card live at 3am and watch the late prelims live at BT Sport 1 starting at 1am. Early Prelim will be live only on Fight Pass from 11:00 pm on Saturday, June 12th.

UFC 263-Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz: “This is MMA’s new school-I can do it all.”

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