Leon Edwards vs Nate Diaz: Four opinion bombs on this surprise

Aug 16, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; UFC presenter Joe Rogan interviews Nate Diaz during weigh ins for UFC 241 at Anaheim Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most random moves in MMA, the UFC has announced that Nate Diaz is making his big return against top welterweight contender Leon Edwards. The announcement came when most people were asleep which led to a lot of people waking up to a big surprise.

In moments like these, there are bound to be countless opinions from all over the place. That’s what makes sports so much fun, anything can happen and everyone can share their opinions on everything.

Why not Belal Muhammad

The bout announcement raised a few eyebrows for multiple reasons. Many were confused by the matchup itself, Diaz returning out of nowhere, Edwards returning against someone not named Belal Muhammad, and something that flew under the radar, the bout is a co-main event that’s scheduled for five rounds!

Normally non-title and non-main event fights are set for three rounds in the UFC, some promotions even keep main events at three rounds if they’re not for a title. Could this fight signal a change in the way the UFC makes fights?

Everything about this matchup is weird. Neither fighter was ever expected to cross paths with Edwards rumored to get either a rematch with Muhammad or some kind of number one contender fight against one of the tops guys at welterweight.

It’s fun because it doesn’t make sense

Diaz on the other hand is one of those fighters that you never seem to figure out when he’s going to fight next. The Stockton native fought Anthony Pettis out of nowhere and followed that up with a fight for the “BMF” belt against Jorge Masvidal.

All of this was back in 2019, Diaz hadn’t fought since. Many simply assumed Diaz would come back against either arch rival Conor McGregor or the people’s champion Dustin Poirier.

The fight serves as a reminder of what makes MMA so much fun. Nothing about the contest makes any sense.

Even the amount of rounds is completely random! That’s what makes it so much fun.

Leon Edwards is in a tricky spot

Edwards is in a tricky position as he clearly deserves a chance to fight for the belt next. However, the fight against Muhammad left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

Regardless of whether Edwards won the first round or not, the fight ended as a “No Contest,” that alone makes it difficult to sell fans on a title fight. This is where the Birmingham native has an opportunity to make a big splash and announce himself to fans that weren’t paying attention.

Diaz is a huge name in the sport of MMA, whether we’re talking about Nate or Nick. The Stockton brothers make every fight exciting and they bring a storyline to every fight.

This fight may seem random for most but there is a very clear angle for both men that the UFC spotted when making the matchup. So what are they exactly?

Edwards needs a selling point before getting the title shot. As we’ve seen in the past, win streaks aren’t always enough, sometimes you need a win over a big name to propel you to the next step.

Name value over merit

The Englishman already took a step towards name recognition when he appeared on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the podcast is known for getting millions of views and helping to get your name out there. A win over a huge name like Diaz completes the process and helps get your name out there, just ask Masvidal.

Things start to get a little complicated for Diaz. He was supposed to fight Tyron Woodley for the welterweight title years ago and ever since it seems like the UFC has been looking for an opportunity to get him in a title fight.

A win over a top contender like Edwards does exactly that. It’s a very legitimate win and one that gets him into a very interesting position at 170.

Sure the fight is a weird one. If you scratch beneath the surface, you’re sure to find exactly why the fight was booked for both men and what this means for things at welterweight.