Leon Edwards believes he will be champ by 2022 after he beats Diaz

‘I will put Nate Diaz away and show the world I deserve the next title shot’: Leon Edwards vows to finish fan favourite at UFC 263 and become Britain’s second champion before 2022

  • Leon Edwards has the most important fight of his career against Nate Diaz 
  • Victory for the British fighter will put him in line for a welterweight title shot 
  • Saturday’s clash is over five rounds and ‘Rocky’ is chasing a finish  
  • He said: ‘I want to put him away and prove to the world I deserve the next shot’

Leon Edwards is out to show the world he deserves a title shot by stopping Nate Diaz at UFC 263 this Saturday night. 

The Birmingham fighter is Britain’s great hope to follow in Michael Bisping’s footsteps and become the second champion from these shores. 

He is convinced that a win over fan favourite Diaz in Arizona will effectively guarantee a shot at the champion before 2022.

Leon Edwards has worked tirelessly for the opportunity he has at UFC 263 on Saturday

Edwards knows that a title shot is within reach if he overcomes Nate Diaz (right)

‘I believe I am the No 1 welterweight contender right now, after I go out and beat Nate, I cannot see where else they would go next’, the 29-year-old said. 

‘I believe I’ll be fighting for the world title before the end of the year. I will be world champion by the end of 2021.’

The UFC appear to be angling in the direction of a rematch between champion Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington next but Edwards’ claim would be undeniable to fight the winner of that match-up. 

He is the heavy favourite to see off Diaz in what the UFC have deemed worthy of five-rounds despite it not being a main event or title fight.  

And even though he is fully confident about securing the win, Edwards knows what to expect from Diaz. 

He added: ‘Everyone knows Nate, he is tough and durable, he has good boxing, jit-jitsu but this is the new school of MMA and I can do it all. I’ll be ready wherever the fight goes. 

‘I might go out and smoke him in a round or it might be a tough four or five rounds but I always see myself as victorious. It doesn’t matter that I’m the heavy favourite, what matters is going out there and performing and showing the world that I deserve the next title shot, that’s my mind frame. 

‘I believe I’m No 1 in the world, going out there, beating a guy like Nate Diaz will show the world I deserve it. 

‘Nate always shows up in shape and comes to fight but if I can be myself, I win the fight. If I can frustrate him it will be even worse for him in there. I want to put him away, get a stoppage in this fight and prove to the UFC, prove to the world I deserve the next title shot.

Edwards went on: ‘Nate is a dog, a veteran of the sport, I am focused 100 per cent on getting the job done. I think Nate will come out as he does in all his fights, to have a war. 

Edwards was unable to capitalise on a strong start against Belal Muhammad due to an eye poke

Diaz has been out of the cage since 2019 and Edwards says he knows what to expect

‘He’ll be looking to get me to ground for submissions but I don’t think he’s got the size or strength to do that. He’ll come out like the Pettis fight, pressuring from the get go. I’ll meet him in the middle and we’ll settle it there.’ 

The 29-year-old has endured some rotten luck during his time in the UFC despite winning his last eight before the no contest against Belal Muhammad earlier this year.

Covid thwarted a fight against Khamzat Chimaev and the eye poke came when he was looking classy against Muhammad, about ready to lay down a marker.

It had looked as though it was back to the drawing board with high profile opponents continuing to duck the Brit. 

But to his credit, Diaz stepped up. The Stockton fighter last competed in November 2019 when a doctor’s stoppage forced a stop to his BMF scrap with Jorge Masvidal. 

Now Edwards must capitalise on the opportunity he’s long deserved.  

Israel Adesanya’s title defence against Marvin Vettori is the main event but Edwards vs Diaz might be the pick of the bunch this Saturday. 

‘Rocky’ wants another shot at Kamaru Usman, who has become champion since they last met

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