Nate Diaz makes his long awaited return to action at UFC 262 when he faces off with Leon Edwards in a five-round, non-title co-main event in Houston on May 15.
Multiple sources confirmed the matchup to MMA Fighting on Tuesday following an initial report from ESPN.
This is expected to be the first time a non-title fight has ever been scheduled for five rounds outside of a main event. Typically the only non-title fights to earn five rounds are main events, but Diaz vs. Edwards will co-headline UFC 262 alongside the vacant lightweight title showdown between Michael Chandler and Charles Oliveira.
For Diaz, this serves as a chance to re-enter the top of the welterweight division after he suffered a loss to Jorge Masvidal in his most recent outing at UFC 244 in November 2019 when doctors did not allow him to continue due to cuts after the third round of their “BMF” title bout.
In his past five outings, Diaz has gone 3-2 with notable wins over Conor McGregor and Anthony Pettis at welterweight.
Diaz also confirmed the fight via Twitter following the initial report.
Check me out may 15th I’ll be headlining #ufc262 in Houston Texas I’ll also have the new UFC lightweight title fight on the card I need people to know these guys are they’ve been working very hard and I can’t wait to see who gets my old I’ll see uguys there
— Nathan Diaz (@NateDiaz209) March 31, 2021
Meanwhile, Edwards seeks a high-profile win to add to his resume after he was forced out of action for over a year thanks in large part to the coronavirus pandemic and then his own personal battle with COVID-19. He was matched up with highly-touted prospect Khamzat Chimaev on three different occasions, but the fight was ultimately scrapped due to Chimaev’s COVID-19 issues.
Edwards ended up facing Belal Muhammad as a late-notice replacement in March but an inadvertent eye poke to Muhammad in the second round forced a stop to the bout. The bout was then ruled a no contest.
Now Edwards moves on from that matchup while looking to build on an eight-fight win streak (excluding the no contest) with the hope that a win over Diaz will earn him a title shot.
The UFC also re-released a video hyping the return of Diaz, which was originally released ahead of his bout with Pettis at UFC 241 in August 2019.