Post-fight news, notes and quotes from Strikeforce “Diaz vs. Noons II”…
KJ Noons breaks hand and jaw in Nick Diaz rematch
In his first meeting with Nick Diaz, KJ Noons left the cage in the same physical condition he entered it in. Not so in the rematch. Noons revealed in the post-fight interview that Diaz broke his jaw in the first round and broke his hand in the second.
“I just got the results of the X-ray, and I know my hand is broke. I broke it in the second round. My jaw is broke. I broke it in first round,” said Noons. “He’s a soldier. He was the better man. I gotta go back and look at the tape, but I fought all five rounds, and I think that says a lot about my character.”
Noons could be seen brushing his hair out his eyes all throughout the fight. He admitted growing his hair out was a mistake on his part.
“I trained with the hair, and I didn’t [think it would be a problem]. I’ll just cut it for next fight,” declared Noons. “It was stupid. I don’t know, man. I never grow out my hair, and I grew it out, like, three inches. I’ll cut it for next fight.”
Diaz felt the key to outboxing Noons was switching stances on him. He knew Noons would be ready to fight a southpaw, so he switched it up throughout the fight knowing fighting orthodox would confuse Noons. Still, Diaz felt his own “indecisiveness” between fighting Noons at his strength or working for the takedown kept him from finishing the fight.
“I think that [changing stances] screwed with him a lot. I think he was [confused by it], said the champion, who has been training with Olympic boxing gold medalist Andre Ward. “I picked up [fighting orthodox] in my sparring, and found I could finish my takedowns on that side. I finally put it together.”
“It was indecisiveness [that kept me from finishing the fight], said Diaz. “I should have trusted my boxing a little more, or I should have just committed to taking him down. That’s what happened last fight. I was too indecisive in the first round. If I’d just commit to [either striking or grappling], I don’t think I’d run into problems with a guy like [Noons].”
“No disrespect to the guy, but I’m the better boxer, and I’m the better jiu-jitsu player. If that were a jiu-jitsu match, I would have won on points, too.”
As for the rubber match, it’s a definite possibility, but Scott Coker says don’t expect it anytime soon.
“I think we’ve got to get K.J. a haircut first, and then we’ll have that conversation after,” Coker joked about Noons constantly pushing his hair back from his eyes during the fight. “On a serious note, I think that not immediately, but I know K.J., he’s going to want to do it, and then maybe in the future we can put something together. I don’t see it in the immediate future.”
Instead, Nick Diaz will be looking at another welterweight title defense or maybe a grudge match with Jason “Mayhem” Miller (more on that below). If it’s a title defense, the most likely challenger will be Paul Daley if he’s able to get past Scott Smith in December. If not, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos is a possibility, and rising prospect Tyron Woodley is also in the mix for a title shot in 2011.
“What we’re going to do is we have the fight with Paul Daley and Scott Smith. I think that is a fight you’re going to have to keep your eye on,” said Coker. “As well as Evangelista Cyborg, (he’s) another fighter, and then tonight you saw Tyron Woodley, I’m not saying he’s going to be the next guy, but within the next year you’ll see Tyron get his shot because the guy is unbelievable.”
Beyond healing, KJ Noons’ immediate future is up in the air. He’s willing to move back down to 155 or do the rubber match. Whatever Strikeforce wants. “Whatever’s fair.”
Injuries nearly forced Josh Thomson out of JZ Cavalcante fight
Josh Thomson came away with a win last night, but he almost didn’t even make it to the fight. Thomson revealed in the post-fight press conference that he considered withdrawing from the fight three weeks ago after the “worst camp” of his career.
“This was the worst camp ever. I had ankle injuries, a partially torn MCL and hand and wrist problems,” said the American Kickboxing Academy standout. “I’m not going to go on a vacation, but I’ll probably take a month to get healed up. I’ve never lifted weights in my life. I think maybe I need to start, so I’m holding my joints and ligaments together a little better. Things are breaking on me, I think, because I train too much.
As for the controversial decision, Thomson felt he won the fight, just not the third round. In the first, he felt his submission attempt did more damage than JZ’s and thus stole the round.
“I knew the first round was close, but I thought I did a lot more damage than he did,” Thomson said. “The guillotine, it was tight, but it wasn’t like – I’ve been in Jake Shields’ guillotine. I know that Jake has one of the best guillotines around, so it wasn’t like a panic mode. It was just stay calm and relaxed and wait and bide my time. He’s going to try and muscle into it, and I just had to wait.
“The biggest thing was I was worried and concerned. I was in [the choke] for a minute or so. How do the judges see that? I’m just chilling, hanging out, letting him blow his arms out, but you’re still in the guillotine. So I was able to get out of it, and that’s why as soon as I popped out I started doing as much damage as I possibly could. I was able to finish strong with the side choke. I felt him kind of gurgling a little bit, and I tried to get in there. That’s the best I could do at the moment.”
Thomson looks forward to a rubber match with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez, but it’s unclear if that’s the fight Strikeforce will book.
Marloes Coenen didn’t feel Sarah Kaufman tap
Sarah Kaufman complained about Marloes Coenen holding onto the fight ending armbar longer than necessary, but Coenen swears it wasn’t intentional.
“Normally when I’m training and I put an armbar on, I know exactly how far it can go because I’ve done it often. I didn’t feel anything because she’s got really strong arms, so I didn’t feel like it was getting overstretched. Then I didn’t feel tapping, and the referee didn’t step in. After he separated us, it was like, ‘Oh, what’s happening?'”
“I heard her complaining,” Coenen said. “It’s all about sportsmanship. I think it’s very important to have the Budo spirit, and it’s not in my character to go on after the referee stops you.”
While Kaufman was upset immediately after, it doesn’t look like she’s going to hold a grudge. Coenen said they cleared the air backstage.
According to Scott Coker, Coenen will make her first title defense against Miesha Tate in early 2011.
— Extra security wasn’t necessary for Nick Diaz and KJ Noons, but word is it was for Nick Diaz and Jason “Mayhem” Miller. Apparently, Diaz and Mayhem got into it backstage.
After the Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons II card, Nick Diaz was walking in the hallway of the HP Pavilion to attend the post-fight press conference. Simultaneously, the guys at Showtime was ushering Mayhem Miller out of the post-fight press conference in order to prevent another Strikeforce: Tennessee. From what I was told, Mayhem was supposed to exit out of the post-fight press conference doors and take a right, while Nick Diaz was going to enter the room in the opposite direction. In short, both fighters would have never crossed paths if this initial plan actually worked, however things sort of ‘screwed up’. As Mayhem Miller was walking down the corridor, he abruptly turned around and walked the other way. As the two were approaching each other, things seemed to be somewhat civil. Out of nowhere, Nick Diaz launched a water bottle directly at Mayhem’s face — almost at point-blank range. It hit Mayhem directly in the face, water exploded everywhere and Miller looked stunned. Security got in-between the two and Nick Diaz held his arms up and said ‘Come on you fat [expletive]!‘. He then tried shoving the security away to get close to Mayhem while screaming ‘Let’s do it right now!‘. Nick Diaz managed to get within swinging distance, and then more security jumped in and held back Nick and finally got him to walk in the opposite direction, towards the post-fight press conference room. This altercation happened outside of the locker rooms.
Scott Coker confirmed a Diaz-Mayhem fight is still on the table but wasn’t prepared to talk any specifics.
“Let these guys heal up,” he said. “When they come back, we’ll have a conversation. I will say this, though: the fights that we’ve wanted to put together, we’ve been able to put together. We’ll have that conversation.
“It’s one thing not to like each other, but if they really want to fight, then we’ll put it together.”
— Gilbert Melendez won’t fight Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez later this year, but he may still fight another high-profile lightweight outside the Strikeforce organization. Scott Coker confirmed they’re working with DREAM on potentially matching Melendez up with Shinya Aoki again, this time in Japan on NYE.
“That is not confirmed, but it is something that (Dream has) said that they would like to have happen if possible, so we’re having that dialogue… It’s a little slower when you work with a Japanese fight company. But once we know whether Gilbert is gonna be free or if he’s gonna fight on New Year’s Eve in Japan then we’ll make some decisions right away.”
— Scott Coker confirmed Strikeforce “Nashville” is the only CBS show Strikeforce will do this year. Despite the post-fight brawl and poor ratings, Coker characterized their relationship with CBS as “good,” and they plan to revisit talks with the network early next year.
“I think the relationship is good. You guys know what happened in Nashville. We’re going to revisit [the CBS relationship] in the beginning of the year. I think there are some other opportunities with CBS that we’re working on — let’s say we’re working on it together to do some other things. I think that probably, I don’t know maybe in the beginning of the year, we’ll have some things to announce. By no means is the relationship a bad relationship. It’s just we’re going to revisit it in the beginning of the year and take it from there.”
“I can tell you this. One of the things that we want to make sure never happens again is the situation that happened in Nashville. I mean, that was terrible. It’s not just bad for Strikeforce or for the sport in general because it affects everybody. It affects everybody in the industry. … It was definitely something that needed to be fixed. We fixed it and we’re moving forward.”
I can’t speak for CBS, but I imagine ratings is the biggest consideration in green lighting another event, which probably means no more CBS without major draws Fedor Emelianenko and/or Gina Carano. We’ll find out in 2011.