Ask Strikeforce lightweight KJ Noons for his honest opinion on a subject and chances are he’ll be more than willing to oblige. While most professional athletes are concerned with regulating their soundbytes to be as politically correct as possible, Noons appears to be unafraid of speaking his mind even when his thoughts may not necessarily be the most popular opinion available.
The 27-year old striker recently sat down with media during a conference call and opened up on not only his approach to facing opponent Jorge Gurgel at this weekend’s “Strikeforce – Houston” event, but also his feelings on fighting in the town he grew up in, an eventual rematch with Nick Diaz, and UFC President Dana White’s lack of respect for boxing.
Noons began by reflecting on how his experience as a boxer might translate into the fight against Gurgel, saying, “There are two different disciplines; you have to be committed to whatever discipline you are working at. But I definitely take a lot of skills and the things I have learned from boxing into my MMA game. The past two fights, I haven’t been a full all-around fighter so I am really looking forward to coming out and being an all-around fighter for this next fight. I am especially really excited about my opponent and when you put our two styles in the ring you are really going to have a lot of fireworks. In my eyes, Jorge is the No. 1 contender so this a top fight for me. By no means am I acting like I have this one in the bag. I am training as hard as I can. This is probably one of the most dangerous opponents I have had.”
“Jorge comes out and puts on great shows, but if you want to watch jiuitsu, go to a tournament. This is fighting. If you want to see some lame fighting go watch the UFC, go watch something boring as hell. If you want to see something exciting, come August 21st and see a guy who’s been boxing his whole life and someone who has a black belt in jiujitsu. This is what people want to see,” continued Noons when asked about how he saw his bout unfolding. “Houston is a great town, I am really glad Strikeforce is coming here. It is a great event. I think once the fighters get here, they’ll see how excited the town is going to be. I am really excited to be on the card with all these people. This is a great fight town. And home field advantage? It doesn’t matter. I am ready to bring my best. I have a lot of respect for Jorge. It’s going to be a great fight. I’m bringing my best. That’s it.”
His remark about the UFC wasn’t the last time “King Karl” targeted the promotion in a comment. The 9-2 Noons, who has won his last five consecutive fights, also brought up the home of the Octagon when asked about a potential rematch with Strikeforce welterweight champ Nick Diaz. The two previously threw down in November 2007 with Noons emerging victor based on the amount of damage he dished out to Diaz’s face. They were later slated to face off a second time in the now-defunct EliteXC promotion with the situation boiling over at one point in the form an in-ring scuffle between both fighters’ camps.
“Most definitely, even though I’m not looking past Jorge,” said Noons on the possibility of fighting Diaz. “I’m not looking at (lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez). I’m not going to wait for anybody and I still want to box. I’m probably one of the only ones with fourteen pro boxing fights. (Strikeforce CEO) Scott Coker has allowed me to box outside of Strikeforce and I think that is going to be really interesting in the future with people like Dana White making a real mockery out of boxing and having James Toney fight Randy Couture. So I have no problem as long as it is okay with Scott to fight a pro boxer. This is all in the future but right now Jorge is on my mind.”
“Dana is trying to make a mockery out of boxing, but if Randy gets caught he is going to sleep,” he added.
However, Noons made it clear his focus was still on Mixed Martial Arts regardless of his interest in pursuing a boxing title. “I am totally committed to MMA right now. This is just an option that is open in my contract. I want to get back on the MMA scene, stay busy fighting, show my loyalty to Strikeforce and Scott (Coker), and when the opportunity comes up I will be back in boxing.”
“It’s going to be a great show next week in Houston. I am very excited about my opponent. I don’t have to say it very much but look at his track record: he has the fight of the night, and look at my track record (and I) always (have) fight of the night. Put us in the cage and you are going to get fireworks. I have respect for the main event but we are probably going to steal the show. I am ready man – this is what it’s all about. This is fighting. On August 21st you are going to get your money’s worth!”
On top of Noons’ energetic scrap with Gurgel taking place on Showtime, “Strikeforce – Houston” also features a pair of championship bouts as light heavyweight “King Mo” Lawal defends his belt against Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Tim Kennedy battles Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza for Strikeforce’s vacant middleweight strap. Former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley also looks to maintain his perfect record (5-0) against Chad Griggs on the card.
Stay tuned to Five Ounces of Pain for live coverage from Houston this weekend!