Bad blood can fuel the fire when promoting a fight between two competitors with a turbulent history. While it becomes motivation for fans to buy all into an upcoming match, many times for the competitors, even with bad blood, it's just another day at the office.
Such was the tone when Strikeforce’s number one welterweight contender, K.J. Noons, sat down to speak with Hurtsbad.com about his upcoming title fight with Nick Diaz, on Saturday night.
Noons discussed a wide range of issues, beginning with his physical and mental preparedness leading up to fight night.
“I’m feeling good, this is probably the best camp I’ve had. I’m feeling ready to put on a great show. I’m peaking and I’m ready to just get in there and mix it up.”
Noons also has eyes for another title shot within the Strikeforce organization, but opted to move up and fight Diaz as an alternative to waiting for the timing to work itself out, with regard to his other aspirations.
“I’m also the number one contender for the Strikeforce 155 pound title, that was put on hold because I guess the champ is suspended or has injuries. They said this fight was on the table and I said sure lets do it at 170.”
Noons added, “There is some history between me and Nick, I’ve beat him in the past, now he’s the title holder at 170 and I said I’m game lets go.”
Diaz was a no show for a recent media conference call that was scheduled for both fighters. Initially, Noons seemed pretty put off by Diaz’s absence. Now a week or so later, it’s water under the bridge.
“I don't really care. I think my job is to participate in some of the things Strikeforce asks me to do, and show for the fight. I think it’s expected but you would have to take that up with him and Strikeforce.”
Noons is itching for the opportunity to claim another title for his resume.
“I’m just ready to win another belt. I’ve been in there training my butt off. The opportunity presented itself and I had to jump to it. I think it’s a fight that people want to see.”
Noons went on to say, “You have two exciting guys who like to go in there and mix it up for the fans. You definitely want to check it out.”
Noons holds a win over Diaz, under the Elite XC banner. Noons defeated Diaz for the lightweight title there. In a fight that showed Noons control much of the first round, Diaz suffered a devastating cut, and the fight was stopped by the cage-side physician.
That's a fact that doesn't sit too well with Diaz. As far as Noons is concerned, he feels he is a different fighter today than he was then, and looks for a fresh look when he and Diaz start mixing it up.
“I don't know too much about him, but for myself I feel like I’ve become a better all around MMA fighter. I’ve gotten better just trying to learn every aspect of the game and be a well rounded fighter.”
Noons went on to mention, “How much better did I get? I trained everything. I’m ready for anything and everything. I’m going to go execute my game plan and get the win.”
As mentioned before there is some bad blood between these two. With that bad blood, as always, verbal jabs have been thrown, and even a few verbal haymakers as well. Yet, now just before fight night, Noons has put all that behind him.
“I’ve done enough talking. I just want to get in there and let my hands do the talking now. I think you're getting two exciting fighters. I haven't lost since I think 2005, and he hasn't lost since I beat him so he hasn't lost in three years. If you want to read into it we've got some history, not the best history but that's why were going to get in there and settle it through Strikeforce.”
As for Strikeforce as a promotion, Noons is quite content with his position in the sport at the moment.
“I think Strikeforce has a lot of confidence in putting on great shows. They’ve been great, I love the way they treat me, they put on great shows, and they've been keeping me real busy. I am real happy where I'm at.”
What do the words Strikeforce Welterweight Champion mean to K.J. Noons?
“I can’t wait for them to announce my name as the new WW champion. I’ve put in a lot of training, this will be my second world title, I'm super excited. I’ve been training really hard. I'm just ready to put on a good show.”
In the realm of MMA fans, many casual fans still have UFC blinders on and really have tunnel vision for the sport. For someone who may enjoy the competition found in a cage, but maybe not sold on other promotions, Noons had this to say as an invitation to watch this event.
“For people who have seen me fight or haven't, I would definitely say tune in and check it out. I think all the hard work will definitely pay off in how I perform.”
Noons is a hard working mixed martial artist who likes to stay busy. There has been no shortage of opportunity for him lately.
“I feel great man, this is my fourth fight in six and half months, so I've been super busy and I feel like I'm peaking.”
KJ is a true competitor at heart and when Elite XC went under, he transitioned to the sweet science to stay active and competitive.
Now that Strikeforce has his plate pretty full for the time being, he has focused on MMA but still loves to compete in both aspects of hand to hand combat.
In closing, Noons had a final message for fight fans who support both him and the sport.
“Check out kjnoons.com, and I'm real blessed to be doing what I love for a living. Thanks to all the fans out there. I'm really enjoying myself. Check out the fight Saturday it's going to be good.”
Based on the performances of both fighters good is honestly an understatement. This fight is going to be outstanding. Both guys are in their primes, they both love to bang, and both are world class.
Do yourself a favor fight fan, call the cable company if you haven't already and order Showtime and catch this fight. You damn sure wont be disappointed.
To hear this interview in its entirety visit the Hurtsbad Radio archives at Hurtsbad.com where this article was originally featured.