Who would win in a fantasy rematch between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards?

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We take a look at how a fantasy rematch between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards would play out

Leon Edwards dethroned Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 to capture the welterweight championship. ‘Rocky’ pulled off one of the greatest comeback victories in a UFC title fight history. What transpired in the octagon at UFC 278 felt like a motion picture. However, the road to victory for Edwards was a backbreaker, and he had to reach out within him to pull out the incredible finish. Interestingly, Edwards was at the receiving end of a similar moment, courtesy of Stockton’s finest Nate Diaz a year ago.

Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz face-off
Leon Edwards and Nate Diaz at UFC 263 face-offs (Credits: SCMP)

Nate Diaz faced Leon Edwards at UC 263 in the what the fans labelled as the ‘co-co-main event’. The fight was historic in the first place being the only UFC non-title, non main event five rounds fight in the company. Diaz, who’s known for his sensational cardio called his shot for the five rounds affair, and the event lived up to everyone’s expectation.

Edwards started the fight by showing Diaz all kinds of different looks to confuse him. He switched between stances effortlessly but Diaz had other plans. He taunted his opponent to break composure and bait him into doing something out of character. The first round was evenly contested with Edwards probably winning the round 10-9.

The next few rounds would be the Brit’s most dominant display inside the octagon. He took Diaz down at will, controlled him on the ground, and sliced him up with vicious elbows. He improvised with his attacks and swept Diaz off his feet several times. He hit the Stockton native with everything but the kitchen sink, but Diaz’s famed chin and cardio held up for him. Edwards must have expected his American opponent to last the entire fight. By the end of the fifth round, Diaz’s face looked like a horror movie as he kept walking down Edwards.

In the very last minute of the fight, Diaz landed a crisp one-two, right through Edward’s guard that rocked the Brit. He tried to defend Diaz’s onslaught while on shaky legs, and the fight ended with the American walking away with his stocks still high.

Going into UFC 278, Kamaru Usman was undefeated for nine years before he met Leon Edwards. The fight began with Edwards using his range to keep Usman away. He threw a strong calf kick and body shots to open his attacks. Usman realized that he needs to utilize his wrestling to disrupt the British fighter’s flow.

He quickly closed the distance and initiated a clinch. Edwards however, maintained his composure and posture forcing Usman into a clinch contest. In one of the rarest sights in a Kamaru Usman fight, Edwards established strong under-hooks that postured the Nigerian up. and used his full force to trip Usman and secure a takedown. ‘Rocky’ obtained a dominant position of full mount, and quickly took Usman’s back. He worked his way for a submission in the remainder of the round.

Realizing that he was one round down against the challenger, Usman came into the second round stronger. He pressured his opponent with intent, and forced his wrestling onto him. He managed to wear down his opponent who seemed to have no answers for Usman’s wrestling proficiency.

The Nigerian was taking down his opponent at will and it looked like he was well on his way to a decision victory. Before the last round, Edwards’ corner encouraged him to dig deep and urged him to push the action. He pulled out a sneaky head kick weapon from deep in his arsenal, that stifled Usman and knocked him out cold. What followed was clear display of thrill and agony from both sides, and a reminder of why this is the most unpredictable sport in the world.

Edwards carved an unforgettable moment just a year later Diaz pulled out something similar.

Who wins the rematch between Nate Diaz and Leon Edwards?

During his interview with Ariel Helwani, Edwards said that he’ll definitely give Diaz a title fight should he beat Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279.

“I would 100 percent give Nate a shot, though,” Edwards said on The MMA Hour. “The scenes would be crazy. I would 100 percent give Nate a shot, because Nate’s a G. I always said it, even after the fight: He is who he is. He’s one of the greatest. The game has never changed him. So if that does happen then Nate’s definitely getting a shot.”

While the fans would thoroughly enjoy the encounter it is highly unlikely that Diaz will rock Edwards the same way he did at UFC 263. Honestly Edwards wouldn’t have been in that position if he would’ve maintained his composure for the entire fight. Going into the rematch he will be prepared with the recognition that Diaz is as tough as they come having learnt it the hard way.

As for Diaz, he always puts on a show, and the fans will love him regardless of the result. But he has a massive task in hand when he faces the division behemoth Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 279.

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Edited by: Gerard Crispin