KJ Noons: After Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum

KJ Noons found himself on the bad end of probably the most newsworthy fight at the Strikeforce event last weekend in Dallas. After showcasing his striking talents in several fights leading up to this one, as well as his ability to come out of fights relatively unscathed, Noons took a pounding in the cage and emerged, well, very scathed.

With a win securing a title shot (at least if you believe Noons’ statements pre-fight), he had reason to attack Jorge Masvidal aggressively, and began the fight looking to strike. But Masvidal caught him with a knee early and cut him, and dominated the fight from that point on.

To his credit, Noons kept coming, in spite of the hematoma across his brow line and blood from his hairline flowing into his eyes. He lasted all three rounds, losing the unanimous decision.

I’ve seen him box and I’ve seen him fight MMA. Either way, I’ve found him a challenging fighter to get behind. I’m sure you could get into my head and figure this out pretty easily, but going into this fight I found myself telling a buddy, “I sure like seeing KJ Noons get punched in the face.”

Now, it’s easy to take a cheap shot at Noons because he’s one of combat sports’ pretty boys, and that does have a lot to do with why I expressed that sentiment (you hear me, Faber?), but I think part of it is that he’s been so elusive and competitive in every fight I’ve seen him in.

So you have the combination of a great target and the frustration that comes from him being tough to beat. In addition, he seems to be very willing to take on anybody and challenge himself. His fight with Nick Diaz proved to me he was ambitious, and you’ve gotta respect that.

Having said that, after Masvidal got ahold of him, I can honestly say I take back my comment: I do not like seeing KJ Noons get hit! Man, did he go from boy-band pretty to caveman ugly real quick!

I respected his ability going into this fight, and I have to say that the heart he showed, gutting it out and coming forward after what had to be a painful and frustrating effort impressed me quite a bit.

I don’t know where Noons goes from here. Everybody has bad days at the office, and unfortunately, he had a no good very bad one. Masvidal looks like a significant challenge for Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, and that is a fight I am looking forward to. But for Noons, after a loss like that he has to work his way back up the rungs he just got knocked down again.

He’s got good boxing and while we really haven’t seen much of his ground game, he’s been rolling for years, so that should be solid. Maybe it’s time to work in some takedowns.