The UFC will put on UFC 263 live from Arizona.

The feature bout of the card will see the fan-favorite Nate Diaz return to the octagon for the first time since his November 2, 2019 bout against Jorge Masvidal for the BMF Championship, to face the always incredible Leon Edwards.

The stakes are incredibly high for both men in this feature bout.

Let’s break down what both men have to gain from a huge win on June 12th.

Nate Diaz

Photo: MMA Fighting

Beginning first with the man the fans love to watch the fight, Nate Diaz looks to regain a foothold in the staked Welterweight division. Nate’s incredible ability to take a beating and continue to push forward is always an issue for his opponent, regardless of their status in the division.

Nate has not fought in over a year due mostly to contract and pay disputes with the UFC but has accepted a fight with Leon Edwards to prove he is still a world-class fighter. For Nate, he doesn’t exactly have much to lose here. He hasn’t won a bout since he defeated Anthony Pettis in August of 2019, but his fan-favorite status, as well as his fun fighting style, put him in a position that despite losses, he always has a permanent home with the UFC.

A loss to one of the division’s best here wouldn’t really hurt Nate. However, a win puts him immediately at the top of the division. In the current landscape of the Welterweight division, champion Kamaru Usman is destroying all opponents. Having Nate as some potential new competition at the top only helps a division short on challengers.

Leon Edwards

For Leon, he needs a definitive win over Nate Diaz. Leon has infinitely more to lose in this fight than Nate due to his current status as a top contender in the Welterweight division. Leon has fought only once since his victory over Rafael dos Anjos in July of 2019 due to travel restrictions because of COVID-19. In that return bout, he was supposed to fight rising star Khamzat Chimaev before he was forced to withdraw due to complications following a battle with COVID-19. Leon instead faced Belal Muhammad in a ’bout that ended in a no-contest after Leon unintentionally poked Belal in the eye.

Leon has not had a strong two years, making many critics question his status as a top-five Welterweight. Leon desperately needs a strong performance and victory over Nate Diaz to solidify his status as a top contender. A loss here would be truly devastating, but a win could push him straight into a title fight against Kamaru Usman following his rematch with Colby Covington.

With the stakes incredibly high for both men, the feature bout at UFC 263 should be an exciting prelude to the two title fights that will follow it.

Featured Image: MMA Fighting
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