Former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping believes Leon Edwards didn’t make the most of his fight with Nate Diaz this past weekend at UFC 263.
Edwards was cruising to victory when Diaz wobbled him with a left hand with around one minute to go of the final round of the first five-round, non-title, non-main event fight in UFC history. The Brit was able to make it to the final bell however and win the fight 49-46 on all three judges’ scorecards. After the fight, ‘Rocky’ admitted that he got complacent in the fifth round and nearly paid for it.
Speaking on his ‘Believe You Me’ podcast (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), Bisping said that despite overwhelming Diaz in every department, Edwards failed to make the most of his opportunity at UFC 263.
“Leon Edwards, what are you doing?!” Bisping said. “What are you doing? He dominated that fight – don’t get me wrong, Diaz is so tough and he made it so entertaining the whole time, every time he was messing around, turning his back, and all the antics and talking to him. Diaz is so tough and he makes every fight exciting. That’s why he’s got so many fans but Edwards was dominating that fight and it was almost like he couldn’t do anything wrong. When they clinched, he took him down with authority, beat him up on the ground, opened him up with those crazy elbows, kicked the s*** out of his leg. But then he f***s up in the fifth round and almost gets knocked unconscious.
“This is not the worst for Leon Edwards, because obviously the worst scenario would be had he got knocked out or lost the fight, but Leon needed to go out there and beat Nate Diaz, take all of his fans, and then become a household name in mixed martial arts. Unfortunately, now the narrative isn’t all about the four-and-a-half rounds of extreme dominance that Leon Edwards put on him…. but the narrative now is that had there been one more round, Nate would have knocked him out. Had this been on the street, Leon would have been done for. Now the narrative is ‘I can’t wait to see Nate Diaz.’ Yes, Leon went out there and beat him but they’re all talking about Nate Diaz.”
Edwards Needed A Finish
With his win over Diaz, Edwards has now won ten out of his last eleven fights, with one no-contest, and only two finishes. Bisping believes that the 29 year old needs more decisive victories to silence his critics.
“It’s so Leon Edwards,” Bisping said. “I feel for the guy. He’s just kind of – it’s not bad luck. You can’t call going out there and beating Nate Diaz by a dominant decision, 49-46, that’s not bad luck. That’s a great night at the office. It is! It’s so Leon Edwards, it’s unfair! The guy is on a ten-fight unbeaten streak, he’s got all the momentum, he’s beaten great fighters and he just beat Nate Diaz but at the end, people are talking about Nate Diaz and how tough he is.
“He needs a finish. He’s got to get a finish. And I can’t say that, I had plenty of decisions. I’m not saying that from a negative standpoint, but it would have shut up a lot of people. It would be a very different discussion right now had he finished Nate Diaz. I just feel for him because it’s almost not fair, which you don’t say that in fight sport. Everyone is talking about Diaz and how tough he is and the rest of it and they’re not talking about Leon who kicked the s*** out of him for four and a half rounds!”
Leon Edwards vs Jorge Masvidal
After his most recent win, Edwards is eyeing a title shot next, but he’ll have to wait as Dana White confirmed in the UFC 263 post-fight press conference that Colby Covington is the next in line to fight for the title.
Instead of sitting around and waiting for a title shot, Bisping believes Edwards should fight Jorge Masvidal to settle their unfinished business.
“Jorge Masvidal, man,” Bisping concluded. “That’s who it needs to be. Masvidal versus Leon Edwards. That’s the fight to make. The three-piece and the soda. Masvidal assaulted him in London. There is backstory there for days. That has to be the fight for Leon.
“Masvidal has to take that fight as well. Far be it from me to be talking s*** about Masvidal. I’m not talking s***, but the reality is this, if you go out there and crack another man in the face who is in your weight class and you both work for a company that matches their employees against one another and puts them in an Octagon to fight, the pieces of the puzzle are there. It doesn’t take a championship puzzle maker to put the final piece of this jigsaw into place. You both fight for the UFC, you’re in the same weight class, you’re both riding high in the division, and the last time they saw one another, Masvidal hit him with a three-piece and the soda. That absolutely, unequivocally has to be the next fight for both of those men.”
Do you agree with Michael Bisping’s views on Leon Edwards?