Exclusive K.J. Noons Interview

Heavy.com: Given your background in boxing, how do you feel about James Toney’s entry into MMA?

K.J. Noons: I think it’s a little bit of a joke, because match-ups make fights, so why would you put a boxer against a great Greco-Roman wrestler? That’s just stupid. That just looks to me like someone it trying to put egg on somebody’s face. Especially for a legend in boxing like James Toney, why wouldn’t you put him up against a striker? But, whatever. It is MMA, right? But whatever. You can draw your own conclusions, I have mine. I don’t think it’s the best match-up, but whatever.

Heavy.com: What is your perception of James Toney v. Randy Couture as a draw?

K.J. Noons: I think it’s interesting. Don’t you think it’s interesting? I think girl fighting is interesting. I think a lot of things are interesting. Is it the pure sport you want to see? No. But hey, in this sport now, it’s entertainment, so there’s all kinds of stuff. It’s not just about the best of the best. There’s a lot more factors that [matter] these days.

Heavy.com: Let’s discuss your transition from EliteXC into Strikeforce. What are the key differences between EliteXC and Strikeforce that you’ve noticed thus far?

K.J. Noons: Not so many chiefs, I guess? If you want to get something approved, you’ve got to go through 50 people in EliteXC, 50 VPs, whereas in Strikeforce there’s not as many chiefs. There’s [Strikeforce CEO] Scott [Coker], there’s the VP, and there’s another matchmaker.

Heavy.com: What was the negotiation process like between you and other MMA organizations after EliteXC dissolved?

K.J. Noons: Strikeforce didn’t have the first right of refusal. I was a free agent. I was boxing and it was an easy transition to Strikeforce because they were going to let me box. They’re going to let me box still. If I want to go box or do something, then I’ll go do it and Scott’s like ‘yeah, if you want to go do something else, I’m not going to hold you back.’ Some of the things at UFC, if you want to wipe your ass, you’ve got to go ask if you can wipe your ass. I don’t like to ask if I can wipe my ass. In so many words, I just want it a little [less] strict. There’s different promotions and they’re a different promotion, you know? It’s why UFC is so successful.

Heavy.com: Before officially fighting in Strikeforce, you returned to MMA in a fight for Dream in Japan. What was that experience like for you?

K.J. Noons: It’s was great, man. It was a great experience. I’ve always wanted to fight in Japan. It was a dream of mine and it was cool to go out there where they have such a high respect for martial arts. It was really neat go out there and travel and fight out there.

Heavy.com: You’ve discussed how important it is to you to put on entertaining fights. Why was your fight against Andre Amade less entertaining than your other fights?

K.J. Noons: It was just hard. I tried to make it exciting. I came forward the whole time. There were a few times that I almost tripped running forward when I was trying to hit him. Really when I look back, it was almost stupid how much I ran forward and came forward and exposed myself while getting hit because I wanted to make it such an exciting fight. It just kind of turned out how it did. I got the win, but maybe it wasn’t how I wanted it to be, but I hadn’t been in [an MMA match] in a year and a half and he’s a dangerous fighter. It really wasn’t that exciting. I’ve only watched it, like, two times. I’m not going to say it was the best fight, but I tried. I worked my ass off. I tried my hardest to try to bring the fight and end it, but it just didn’t turn out that way.

Heavy.com: How much do you focus on the ground aspect on MMA during training?

K.J. Noons: As much as boxing and kickboxing. I’m always doing takedowns, doing takedown defense, always doing jiu-jitsu.

Heavy.com: You were originally scheduled to fight on July 26. How does your fight being moved up 10 days affect you?

K.J. Noons: I had been training 8 weeks out before the fight. That doesn’t really even matter. I’m in top shape and I’m ready to go. I know this guy’s going to be in top shape and I believe he’s as tough a competitor as Krazy Horse, just [a different] discipline and his style. I think it’s going to be a great fight.

Heavy.com: The June 16 Strikeforce event will take place as part of the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo and will help to promote the EA Sports MMA video game in which Strikeforce is featured prominently. Do you play video games?

K.J. Noons: Yeah, I love video games! I want to be on the game, but I guess [I’m not because] I haven’t fought in the states, I don’t know. Maybe I can get on it if I win. There’s some people I don’t even know that are on the game., so I hope I get on (laughs).

Heavy.com: What is your favorite game?

K.J. Noons: Probably Halo.