by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
A great many fighters learned a great many things while fighting for EliteXC. Of course they also lost their jobs when the company went out of business, but former lightweight champion K.J. Noons knows that the EliteXC experience taught him a valuable lesson.
As the champion sat on the sidelines, EliteXC worked feverishly to put together a fight between Noons and Nick Diaz with the title on the line. Noons had beaten Diaz just one fight before, and the two sides were far apart on the money being paid and other issues surrounding the matchmaking.
EliteXC went as far as stripping Noons of his title, but the title belt never saw the light of day again as the company went belly up just a few weeks later.
Now signed with Strikeforce, Noons has stopped talking about what he wants to happen. He’s not being the loudest one in the room anymore.
He wants to be the best fighter in the room, and let his fists do his talking for him.
“I was tired of a lot of that stuff from EliteXC, and I can really just see clear now. The number one thing is just to fight, that’s it, easy. Just fight,” Noons told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “I didn’t want to make a big fuss when I first came into Strikeforce. At the end of the day, I just want to fight… the way I fight, people can judge if they want to like me or not. Not talk so much, let my fists do the talking.”
So far, so good for Noons, who defeated Conor Heun in his Strikeforce debut, and makes his return to action on Saturday night where he faces Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former UFC lightweight Jorge Gurgel.
Many have pegged Noons as the top contender in the lightweight division, and believe if he wins, he could be headed for a showdown with Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez later this year. Again, Noons shies away from the talk about title fights, because the test in front of him is something he has yet to pass, and until he gets an A+ on Saturday night, there’s no point in talking about what’s next.
“There’s a lot of great fights I would like to see, but I’m not saying anything till I get past this tough guy, Jorge Gurgel on Aug. 21,” Noons stated. “Jorge Gurgel is my number one priority, not Gilbert Melendez, not a belt, not a Nick Diaz, not a boxing match. The 21st, I’ve got to be healthy, on weight, on my game, game tight, be right.”
It’s that very focus that has Noons sounding and fighting like a different man than the person he was just two years ago. Yes, Gilbert Melendez is a fight he would welcome, but Noons wants to leave that decision up to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and the powers that be.
There’s no more talk, just action.
“I’ll just let my fists do the talking and when the time is right, we’ll do it,” Noons commented. “Gilbert’s a great champ, so whenever. I’ll work my way from the bottom to the top again. I don’t really care, I’m down for it.”