Paul Daley is readying for his return to Strikeforce next weekend when he faces Scott Smith in a marquee match-up on the card, but the explosive Brit already has his eyes set on a future fight with K.J. Noons.
While Daley has no illusions of looking past Scott Smith, the former UFC welterweight contender is gunning for a shot at the Strikeforce 170lb belt now and an opportunity to face champion Nick Diaz.
The path to get to the title is where things get sticky. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had previously told MMAWeekly Radio that internal talks were to put the winner of Daley vs. Smith in with Brazilian slugger Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos with the eventual victor becoming the new No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.
It seems that Daley has other ideas in mind.
“Obviously first it’s Scott Smith, to get him out of the picture pretty quick, and then really I just want to take the biggest names that Strikeforce has on the route to the title or the people that I think that are going to present me with the most challenge,” Daley said on Tuesday.
“Without being disrespectful Cyborg or to Mr. Coker, I don’t think a fight with Cyborg is something that I’m looking for at the moment to be honest with you.”
Daley does have other names in mind, including the man who holds a win over Diaz and just recently went 5 round with the current Strikeforce welterweight champion.
“I’d rather fight K.J. Noons or Nick Diaz straight away or a Tyron Woodley, who’s really not a bigger name, but I respect him and think that a fight with him will not only be a challenge for me, but will also be an exciting fight and a fight Strikeforce can promote,” Daley commented.
Santos hasn’t competed since a June TKO win over Marius Zaromskis, but has been mentioned as a possible title contender since dropping down to welterweight.
K.J. Noons has been taking time off since his fight with Diaz and there has been no word if the pro boxer and MMA fighter will make a return to lightweight or stay at welterweight in the near future.
If Daley has his way, Noons will be at 170 and fighting him very soon.
“Ideally, I’d like to fight Noons after I knock out Scott Smith,” Daley stated.
Daley will first face Scott Smith in St. Louis next weekend and then await Strikeforce’s final decision on who he’ll have to go through to get to a title shot against Nick Diaz.