HOUSTON — This weekend is a sort-of homecoming for K.J. Noons.
Noons played football for nearby Clements High School in Sugarland, and the multi-discipline fighter says he relished every minute of his time spent in a Rangers uniform.
“Oh man, you can get away with anything when you play football in Texas,” Noons says with a laugh. “When people ask me what sports I played in high school, I tell them I played nothing but football. They just shove it down your throat.”
Though he no longer calls it home, Noons still feels a special attachment to the city he grew up in. A multi-faceted martial artist, Noons returns to Houston to face Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Jorge Gurgel in a fight that will no doubt contend for fight of the night honors. That’s because like Gurgel, Noons tends to forget everything he knows once the cage door is closed. Game plans are abandoned and adrenaline takes over. It’s a fight, and it’s what Noons lives for.
“I can do anything I put my mind to. When people tell me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it even more. I love fighting, I love the sport. I love the technical side of every aspect of fighting,” Noons says. “But at the end of the day, what it comes down to — which may be my fault — is that I’m a fighter. I laugh about it, but I would probably be fighting for free in the streets. And come Saturday night, it’s going to be a great fight.”
Saturday’s bout will be the third for Noons since an extended foray into the boxing world. A boxer since childhood, Noons maintains a 12-2 boxing record to go along with his 9-2 MMA record, and he spent two years after the demise of EliteXC taking boxing matches whenever he could. His interest in boxing hasn’t waned in the slightest; he just likes to challenge himself in new and different areas. But he’s keeping a keen eye on next Saturday’s UFC 118 event in Boston, where multiple-time boxing champion becomes the first major boxing star to cross over to MMA in a bout with Randy Couture.
“I think it’s interesting. It’s entertainment at the end of the day. People are going to watch it because it’s interesting. I think Couture said he was going to ground and pound, and there’s probably a very good chance he’s going to do that,” Noons says. “But if James touches him, Randy is going to sleep.”
Watching Couture vs. Toney can wait. A potential grudge match with Nick Diaz can wait. For now, Noons only has his eye on Saturday night and Jorge Gurgel.
“Fighting Jorge on Saturday is my number one priority. He’s a very tough opponent, and I’m not looking past him. I’ve trained very hard for this fight. There are a lot of interesting fights out there for me in the lightweight division, and in kickboxing and muay thai,” Noons says. “There are so many good athletes out there, but you can’t look past any of them — not even Jorge. Come Saturday, I’m ready.”