KJ Noons

When K.J. Noons steps back in the cage on June 18 to face Jorge Masvidal in Strikeforce it won’t just be any fight. It will determine the next fighter who will face Gilbert Melendez for the Strikeforce lightweight title.

Noons confirmed the news in an interview with MMAWeekly Radio.

“This is for the No. 1 contender for the 155, and then I get a title shot,” Noons said about his fight with Masvidal.

When the fight was made, most assumed that the fight could hold those types of implications, but Noons has been promised the shot if he wins, and he looks forward to the challenge.

“That’s it for sure,” Noons said about getting the title shot if he wins. “I was actually supposed to get a shot back last year, but that opportunity came up to fight (Nick) Diaz, they asked me if I would move up to fight for the title, and a lot of people wanted to see that, so I said sure no problem so we made it happen.

“Now I’m back in my original weight class, and I’m just going to put on exciting fights.”

In that title fight, Noons went five hard rounds with Diaz and pushed the champion further than anyone else in the weight class has recently. He’s also the last fighter to defeat Diaz when he beat him by TKO in 2007 after busting him up in the first round and causing a stoppage due to cuts.

Noons is excited for the challenge ahead in facing Masvidal, but when looking at the big picture he knows the ultimate target is fighting Gilbert Melendez with the gold on the line.

It’s also a chance for Noons to face another top fighter from the Cesar Gracie fight team, the same camp that produced Diaz.

“I think he’s a great champ, I think he is truly ranked No. 1, and he is the No. 1 ranked 155lber out there,” Noons said about Melendez.

“But I have to say, I know he’s probably shooting for trying to unify the belts or fight somebody else because he knows and I know it wasn’t no gimme that last 170lb title shot.”

Noons is of course referencing the war he had with Diaz last October, and he hopes to battle his teammate Melendez later this year with a different title on the line.

First on the agenda however is fighting Jorge Masvidal, and then getting the shot at the Strikeforce lightweight title.


Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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