by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Last Saturday night, K.J. Noons earned not only his first victory as EliteXC lightweight champion, but he also gained the respect of numerous fans and critics who questioned if the Hawaiian native was the real deal or a flash in the pan after his win over Nick Diaz to win the title late last year.
Noons stunned his opponent, Yves Edwards, early in the first round before following up with some devastating punches on the ground to get the fight stopped in under a minute.
“You know it’s just one of those things,” said Noons during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio Monday night. “You get caught and I had to capitalize on it.
“He threw a punch, it caught me, and I was backing up. He was coming for a flurry, and he kind of came in and had his hands down. He was squared up, I countered his attack, and it landed on a flush spot. I just had to follow up with that.”
Following the fight, Noons celebrated in the cage after successfully defending the title in his home state, along with his father and extended family who attended the event to support their champion.
Despite a dominant performance and a well deserved celebration, Noons’ time to enjoy the win was short lived as Nick Diaz was soon led into the cage to challenge the champion to a rematch of their 2007 fight.
“It was pretty sudden,” Noons stated about the timing of Diaz’s impromptu challenge. “I can understand they want to pump it up for another fight. It could have been done a little bit differently; you know what I mean? The more I think about it. But it is what it is, we’ll just see where we go from here.”
Diaz was challenging the champion when Noons asked the crowd if they believed he deserved a rematch and that only seemed to anger the Cesar Gracie student.
“I was just asking because I didn’t see the fight, so I think that really pissed him off,” Noons commented.
What followed was a melee that included Noons, his father, both Nick and his brother Nate Diaz, and a number of EliteXC officials trying to restore order to the situation.
Noons explained that he never had ill will towards Diaz, but emotions ran high and unfortunately a near riot broke out.
“Even before I even fought Diaz the first time, I never had nothing bad to say about him. I’ve always given him respect as a fighter. This is a business for me,” said the champion. “I could see he got mad at the crowd or whatever and I think the whole thing kind of escalated. I got mad, and my family got mad because his brother Nate was flipping off and doing all this crazy stuff. I mean, it’s only natural to get ticked off. And you know, things started happening.”
Now the champion is faced with an obvious rematch with Diaz at some point in the future. Noons doesn’t shy away from a second fight with the top challenger in his weight class.
“You saw what happened the first time,” he said about the Diaz fight. “So no confidence lost on this side. Whatever EliteXC wants to do with it, we’ll just go from there.”
Right now, Noons will enjoy his victory before heading back to California and continue his training. And while he plans on being EliteXC champion for some time to come, he says that he wants to get back into competitive boxing. He would like to get at least one boxing match in before his next title defense.
“Yeah, most definitely, I’m going to try to get as many as I can,” Noons commented about his boxing career.
The two-sport star heads back to his home gym of City Boxing later this week.