Nick Diaz (right) vs. K.J. Noons: Dave Mandel | Sherdog.com
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz avenged his 2007 loss to K.J. Noons on Saturday at the HP Pavilion, using his superior reach to beat Noons to the punch for the majority of five rounds.
At the post-fight news conference, it wasn't hard to see who got the worst of it.
“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, 27, had never before fought at welterweight, and the boxer-turned-MMA fighter had a terrible time getting inside of Diaz's length. Another factor working against the challenger was his hair. Throughout the five-round affair, Noons was seen brushing his hair from his eyes. The distraction seemed to hinder Noons' vision and possibly his reaction time. When asked about his it, the former EliteXC lightweight champ was visibly frustrated with himself.
“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.”
But his hair wasn't the only thing proving confusing to the challenger. There was also Diaz, who usually fights as a southpaw, came out swinging from an orthodox stance. The change essentially nullified Noons' greatest weapon in the pair's first fight: the straight right hand. The Cesar Gracie product would later switch back-and-forth from orthodox to southpaw.
“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.”
During the fight, both sides engaged in some heavy trash talking, the majority of which could not be heard from cage-side. When asked about it, Noons said he had no comment. That was not the end of the chatter, however, as Diaz opened up about his performance after the fight.
“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].”
Diaz supplemented his comments by reiterating his points from the in-cage post-fight interview.
“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.”