K.J. Noons is headed back down the scale. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
K.J. Noons will reportedly return to action on the April 9 Strikeforce card against an opponent to-be-determined. A Monday report from MMAWeekly.com cites the onetime EliteXC lightweight titleholder as saying that he intends to return to the 155-pound class in his next outing.
The 28-year-old Hawaiian has been sidelined since his October Strikeforce welterweight title bout with reigning champion Nick Diaz. Noons suffered a broken jaw and left hand in the hard-fought, five-round loss, a rematch of the pair’s November 2007 meeting which Noons won via doctor stoppage.
Noons, who has also boxed professionally, holds an MMA record of 10-3 and has been knocked out only once in his career, by Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett in 2007. Following the loss to Bennett, “King Karl” rattled off six wins in a row -- including stoppages of Diaz, Jorge Gurgel and Yves Edwards -- before running into Diaz for the second time.
Though the April 9 card was originally meant to house the remaining two quarterfinals of Strikeforce’s heavyweight grand prix, it is now rumored that those matchups will be held on June 18 in Dallas. As reported by Sherdog.com last week, a lightweight title bout between champion Gilbert Melendez and challenger Tatsuya Kawajiri will likely fill one of the show’s top slots. Diaz is also expected to defend his welterweight strap, possibly against British slugger Paul Daley, while former light heavyweight champ Gegard Mousasi is rumored to meet grappling ace Roger Gracie.