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KJ Noons Feels At Home Preparing In Houston

AJ Hoffman
11 August 2010
KJ Noons Feels At Home Preparing In Houston
KJ Noons is back home.

While he currently lives in San Diego, Calif., Noons is excited to fight in his hometown at Strikeforce:Houston on August 21.
"It's awesome. I can't wait to fight here," said Noons, who moved to Houston from Hawaii when he was 15 years old, and went on to graduate from Clements High School in 2001. No matter where he was, he knew what he wanted to be a fighter. Noons will tell you himself, "I might not look the toughest, but when I get in that cage I show my skills and strengths." Noons doesn't look like your average fighter. No mohawk, no head to toe tattoos, no cauliflower ear. He looks more likely to be a model than someone who gets hit in the face for a living.

Make no mistake though, Noons is a fighter. Besides his 11-2 MMA record, he has a kickboxing/muay thai mark of 13-1. He is 12-2 as a professional boxer. He took off almost two years from MMA, from June 2008 to March 2010. He had five pro boxing bouts in that time, going 4-1. He is still getting himself back into MMA mode.

"It is definitely two totally different disciplines," Noons said. "When I am concentrating on one, I lose a little in the other. Right now I am still getting back to where I want to be with MMA."

Where he wants to be is on top. Noons is no stranger to the big stage in MMA. He worked his way into MMA by being chosen by Pride FC officials as the "Best Striker" at a kickboxing event. He went on to fight in the Pride-subleased organization Superbrawl.

He never fought for the parent company, mostly because they wanted to throw him in against the best 155'ers in the world, including Takanori Gomi and Joachim Hansen. Noons thought he wasn't quite ready for those kinds of fights so early in his career, and took a more conservative route.

A few wins later, he found himself fighting for Elite XC, and eventually fighting for their lightweight title against Nick Diaz in Corpus Christi. Diaz, a highly respected fighter, was stopped by the doctor after one round due to cuts over his eyes, earning Noons the Elite XC championship. Diaz eventually had surgery on his face to correct the damage.

His next fight was against UFC veteran (and fellow Houstonian) Yves Edwards. The fight lasted :48 seconds, and Noons walked away with a dominant TKO win.

Elite XC wanted Noons to fight Diaz again, as he was one of the more recognizable and profitable names within the organization. They were offering Diaz three times the money that Noons, the champion, was set to receive. Noons refused the fight, saying he wanted to fight for even money. Elite XC stripped him of the title, and before a new champion could be crowned, the organization folded.

Noons has had two fights since: one with Japanese promotion DREAM, and one with Strikeforce. He won both fights, setting him up for the matchup August 21st against Jorge Gurgel.

Meanwhile, Noons is training in Houston for the fight, and his attitude toward training partners is unconventional. Noons believes that he gets more out of traveling and working with different guys than having a "team" of guys that he trains with regularly.

While in Houston, he has trained with 4 Oz. Fight Team, as well as with longtime acquaintances Gulled "G" Ahmed and Kimo Rigmaiden at Paradigm.

"Paradigm has some guys here that are perfect for the fight I am training for. Same size, same style. Makes for good sparring, and that is all I am looking for. The best guys to spar with. The best guys to train with for the fight that I have coming up. I want to work with guys who are going to push me to be better." So far his strategy appears to be paying dividends.

Noons realizes how tough of an opponent he will be facing in two weeks. Gurgel, who has 7 fights in the UFC, is one of the best jiu-jitsu guys in the world, though he has been highly criticized for not using his strengths during his fights. Noons speaks highly of the Brazilian. "He has great jiu-jitsu. He wants it on the ground, but he is a brawler," Noons said. "I thought he beat Billy [Evangelista]. I know he is training hard. I heard he is kicking 200 times every morning, so I am kicking 201 times every morning. I have to keep working hard, because I know he is. I look at myself as an underdog in this fight."

When asked about where he sees himself in five years, Noons exuded more confidence. "I see myself on top. Five years, maybe five months. All it is going to take is hard work. Hard work, dedication. I just can't get caught slippin'. Everybody out there is hungry. Anything can happen in this sport. I just have to keep checking myself. Eventually I would like to fight Gilbert Melendez, but I am in no hurry. I am just taking it as it comes."

Noons' next step will be against George Gurgel at Strikeforce:Houston on August 21st at the Toyota Center. Find more info on Noons at and stay tuned to for continuing coverage of Strikeforce: Houston.
Last Modified:
12 November 2010

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