Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz Predictions: Fighters pick UFC 263 winner 1

Nate Diaz returns to the Octagon this Saturday, June 12, when he faces #3 ranked welterweight contender Leon Edwards in a special five-round bout on the UFC 263 main card.

It’ll be Diaz’s first in-cage appearance since he was defeated by Jorge Masvidal in November 2019. That loss came less than three months after a brilliant performance in his return to the cage against Anthony Pettis at UFC 241. But now, with more than 18 months away from competition, again, Diaz will be tasked with another tough opponent this time at UFC 263.

Leon Edwards is regarded as one of the most underappreciated fighters in the UFC today and he’ll enter UFC 263 undefeated since 2015. It was then when he lost to current champion Kamaru Usman at UFC on FOX 17. Since then, Edwards managed eight consecutive victories before a disappointing end to his most recent bout against Belal Muhammad that ended due to an accidental eye poke in March.

What do other UFC fighters think of this welterweight matchup? Thanks to James Lynch’s MMA Pros Pick series, we’ve been able to gain special insight into the thoughts of MMA pros as they share their UFC 263 predictions for Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz.

Here’s how to order UFC 263 and watch the Edwards vs. Diaz live this Saturday night

Existing ESPN+ subscribers can purchase the UFC 263 PPV for $69.99.

  1. Visit the ESPN website
  2. Follow the on-page instructions to log in and access the order page
  3. Log in and click “Get Now”
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your order

New ESPN+ subscribers can purchase the UFC 263 & ESPN+ Bundle for $89.99.

The UFC 263 & ESPN+ Bundle includes one-year access to ESPN+ (normally $59.99), representing a huge saving for new subscribers.

  1. Visit the ESPN website
  2. Choose UFC 263 & ESPN+ Bundle
  3. Click “Get Now”
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your order

ESPN+ hosts all UFC Fight Night events, the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, and a wide range of other sports and original shows.

Leon Edwards vs. Nate Diaz predictions

Anthony Smith

“I’ve gotta preface this with like, I’m a huge Nate Diaz fan, huge Nate Diaz fan. I love his interviews, I love what he brings to the game. I love his attitude, I love his outlook on the game. I love it all. But the game has just passed him up. He just hasn’t evolved quick enough. And he’s not a young guy, he’s got a lot of miles. He’s been in a lot of wars. I’m really high on Leon Edwards and I think that dude is fantastic everywhere. I don’t see where Nate Diaz can beat Leon Edwards. He’s not going to knock him out. He may be able to wear him out, but we haven’t seen Nate Diaz do that to anybody in a long time. The last person he did that to was Conor McGregor and that was a significant amount of time ago. So, I have to go with Leon Edwards but that doesn’t mean I’ve still got a lot of love for Nate Diaz.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Eryk Anders

“I think Leon Edwards is definitely the more skilled fighter but Nate Diaz is that gamer. He can pull wins out of nowhere. I’m going to go with Leon Edwards. He doesn’t seem to make too many mistakes and I don’t think he’s going to get tired during the fight and he’ll probably piece Nate Diaz up, to be honest.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Aljamain Sterling

“I’ve got Leon Edwards. I just think that Nate has taken off too much time. He’s a tough dude, but we saw what Masvidal did to him and some people are just going to be a fighter’s fighter and think like you should just get up and continue to fight no matter what. It’s not a street fight. If it was a street fight, guess what, I’ve gotta figure a way to get off the canvas and fight. It’s a little bit different. There are rules for a reason. There’s no ill-will to him for saying that but I do think that Leon Edwards is the fresher fighter and his skillset is going to be a little too much for Nate Diaz. He doesn’t have the wrestling pedigree to take a guy down like Edwards and utilize that grappling. Edwards doesn’t typically get tired, or at least I don’t see it. He’s been away for so long. he looked sharp in that fight with Belal until the eye poke but Belal usually comes on stronger later in the fight so that would have been interesting to see how that went. But I think that this is Edwards’ time to shine and get a big-name fight and solidify that he should be fighting next for a title.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Johnny Munoz Jr.

“I love the Diaz brothers but I gotta go with Leon Edwards on this one. I feel like he’s probably the most underrated guy in the UFC — everybody looks past him. I feel like he takes that fight and should be fighting Usman soon. I feel like, in my opinion, he’s one of the most deserving guys in the division and will pose a big threat to Usman, for sure.”

– from interview with James Lynch (timestamp)

Juan Archuleta

“Leon, for sure. I’d love to see him get a title fight after this Jorge Masvidal fight. We’ll see what happens but Leon Edwards is legit.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Julian Marquez

“Leon Edwards is going to fucking destroy Nate Diaz. It’s not that Nate isn’t capable of being great, but man, Leon Edwards, before all the stuff happened against Belal [Muhammad], Leon looked like a power threat in that division. His movement, boy, oh boy, Belal didn’t know what was going on in that fight. He had no answer for it. I’ve got Leon on that.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Karl Roberson

“Leon [will win]. That’s a nasty fight, I’m looking forward to that one. That’s 50/50. Diaz hasn’t been in there for a while, Leon was on the bench for a while. he had that hiccup against Muhammad, but you can tell they’re both hungry and they like to fight, so we’ll see.”

– from interview with James Lynch

Luis Pena

“I’ll say, Leon Edwards. I feel like Leon has the style to go in and make it boring — if he wanted to — and take that fight.”

– from interview with James Lynch

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