When the UFC called K.J. Noons to let him know he’d be fighting Donald Cerrone in his promotional debut at UFC 160, the Strikeforce veteran immediately liked the matchup.
“I thought right away it’s a great matchup, great fireworks,” Noons told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’ve got a lot of respect for the guy as a fighter … . He’s very well versed. He’s a very well-rounded fighter. He likes to stand and bang, and he can mix it up anywhere.”
The lightweight bout will take place Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Noons enters the fight having lost four of his last five, but his last defeat in particular was controversial. Many observers believe he defeated Ryan Couture, though the judges gave Couture a split decision.
“I’m not making excuses for my losses, but the last five fights, the first loss was to Nick Diaz, which was a very close fight in a weight division which I don’t even fight in,” Noons said. “I did that for the organization because they asked me to. … I did lose to [Jorge] Masvidal, so we can say that’s a loss. Came back and won a fight after that, and then I fought Josh [Thomson] and he just laid on me like a human blanket. I kind of look at that like he was pretty scared to fight. I guess it wasn’t even really a fight, and then last fight, the judges gave it to [Couture]. Like I said, I’m not trying to make a lot of excuses, but it’s just kind of where the cards fell.”
In Noons’ view, the UFC brought him over from Strikeforce because he’s an entertaining fighter who deserved the nod against Couture.
“Stylistically, I believe I still have a lot of fights left,” Noons said. “I’m an exciting fighter. I think that has a lot to play in what the UFC decides. … I’m pretty confident that my style of fighting is pretty exciting and people like to watch it. That’s what the UFC likes. They like exciting fights and what people want to see.”
Cerrone is also known as an exciting fighter. On paper at least, the matchup looks to be a barnburner assuming both fighters are willing to trade on the feet. Noons isn’t so sure Cerrone will look to stand, though.
“There’s only been one person that’s stood and banged with me,” he said. “It was Nick Diaz. I don’t know if that’s the smartest thing … . I train for every aspect of the game because it’s MMA. It might look like it’s going to be a standup war, but people want to put it wherever it’s going to be the most to their advantage. I feel like the biggest advantage for me is standing. He’s probably going to be wanting to take it anywhere, make my hands tired, make legs tired. I’m ready for wherever the fight goes. I think it’s going to be exciting anywhere.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 2:25:39).