When the decision was read on Saturday night declaring Nick Diaz the winner over K.J. Noons in their welterweight title fight, no one seemed surprised. A betting favorite going in, Diaz was looking for redemption from his last encounter with Noons, and he got that with the unanimous nod from the judges.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker says that he expected maybe something different out of the fight, but in the end Diaz proved himself as the welterweight champion, and a dangerous striker that can go toe to toe with anyone in the division.
“Personally, I thought it was going to go up and down maybe a little more than it did, but it just turned out to be a straight stand-up fight and I think Nick proved he can box with the best of them,” Coker said after the fight.
With Diaz now evening the score at one fight each, Noons will surely look for a chance to settle the score once and for all with a rubber match between the two rivals. The only problem with that is Noons is a valuable commodity to the Strikeforce lightweight division, and Diaz will need to fight new opponents to keep his stock rising as well.
Coker doesn’t rule out a third meeting between the foes, but also says it’s not something that will likely happen anytime soon.
“I think we’ve got to get K.J. a haircut first, and then we’ll have that conversation after,” Coker joked about Noons constantly pushing his hair back from his eyes during the fight. “On a serious note, I think that not immediately, but I know K.J., he’s going to want to do it, and then maybe in the future we can put something together. I don’t see it in the immediate future.”
So what’s next for the Strikeforce welterweight champion?
“What we’re going to do is we have the fight with Paul Daley and Scott Smith. I think that is a fight you’re going to have to keep your eye on,” said Coker. “As well as Evangelista Cyborg, (he’s) another fighter, and then tonight you saw Tyron Woodley, I’m not saying he’s going to be the next guy, but within the next year you’ll see Tyron get his shot because the guy is unbelievable.”
Daley is currently ranked as a Top 10 welterweight, and actually sits above Diaz in the MMAWeekly.com World MMA Rankings. With his debut in Strikeforce in December it would almost seem a lock if he gets past Scott Smith that he would get a crack at Diaz.
As for Noons, going up to welterweight was for the shot at Diaz, so it’s likely he’ll return to his natural weight class at 155 pounds and probably won’t have to wait long for a major match-up against one of Strikeforce’s elite lightweights.