by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The last time MMA fans saw K.J. Noons he was blasting his way through his firs title defense as the EliteXC lightweight champion, but lately the native Hawaiian has gone back to his first love, which is the sport of boxing. While no deal has been made yet, Noons says MMA fans shouldn’t forget about him, because he’ll be back, and it will be before the end of 2009.
Rumors circled earlier this year that Noons was set to sign on with the UFC, and then just recently the news started to swirl that the last ever EliteXC lightweight champion would end up with Strikeforce. According to Noons, all of the news about him signing is pre-mature at this point and he’s still focused on boxing… for now.
“I’m for sure getting (an MMA) fight in before the year is out,” Noons told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “I’ve got the Aug. 22 boxing, and then I might have one in September. I don’t know. I don’t want to look past Aug. 22. And then I’m going to gear up and get ready for MMA for a couple months and fight somebody by the end of the year. I’m ready.”
With nothing official yet, Noons is in talks with Strikeforce about a return to action in MMA, and owner Scott Coker seems willing to allow the young fighter a chance to continue his pursuit of excellence in boxing, as well.
“I’m in talks with Scott (Coker) at Strikeforce and we’re just talking and just trying to see, and he’s real flexible and he’s willing to work with me,” Noons commented.
“I told him that’s just my passion, boxing; so he’s willing to work with that and work around that. We’re just picking some dates and trying to figure out what would be the best for myself and him as far as his promotion and a fight for me in MMA coming up later in the year.”
Since his exit from EliteXC, Noons has stopped working with former manager Mark Dion, and is now concentrating on working for himself and finding the best deal possible.
“I told Mark straight up how I felt and on a business level and he respected that, and we just split. We went our separate ways,” stated Noons.
When he does make his comeback to MMA, the list of possible opponents reaches far and wide, but no fight may be bigger than a rematch with newly crowned Strikeforce bad boy Nick Diaz.
“Even though he’s moved up a weight class, I’ve been exploring that too with Scott from Strikeforce, to do a catchweight,” Noons said about a second fight with Diaz. “So I’ve never turned down the fight, it was just turning down getting paid three times less money than him. So if that’s something that people want to see, I’m just looking to fight good fights that people want to watch. That’s definitely one of the fights that’s out there for me. ”
According to Noons, his problems with Diaz have nothing to do with his fighting skill, only his personality.
“Before that fight, I never took anything away from him. I knew he was a good athlete going into it. I just can’t stand the guy personally; I think he’s a dumbass,” said Noons. “But fighter-wise, he’s pretty good. I think that’s a great style for me.”
The future for the former 160-pound champion may actually be at a higher weight class in MMA, as he admits the bigger weight cuts make a big difference for his performance.
“I fought three weeks ago at 156 and if I don’t stay in the gym, two weeks later, I’m already almost at 180, so I fluctuate really hard,” Noons commented. “That’s why I’m exploring some options for MMA. Boxing’s a little bit different; there’s so many weight classes, but MMA, there’s such a big difference in weight. I don’t have a problem with fighting at 55 or 170 for MMA.”
For the immediate future, K.J. Noons will still be the boxer, but look for him to make his presence known once again in MMA before the year is out.