The following is a complete transcript of Luis Cruz's interview with Elite XC fighter K.J. Noons, conducted last week for MMANews.com. To listen to the audio instead (MP3, approx. 5MB), click here.
Luis Cruz of MMANews.com: This is Luis Cruz with MMANews.com, I’m joined by undefeated Lightweight prospect, K.J. Noons. K.J will be facing Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett on February 10th at Elite XC’s debut show in Southaven, Mississippi to air live on SHOWTIME at 10:00pm ET. K.J., what’s up man?
K.J. Noons: What’s going on my man?
MMANews.com: Nothing much. How’s training going out there?
K.J. Noons: It’s going good you know. I’m training twice a day everyday just getting ready for the big fight.
MMANews.com: How long do you train each time [you’re in the gym]?
K.J. Noons: Umm, you know I got a lot of my cardio and cut a lot of my weight a few weeks ago. I was training vigorously, about four or five hours a day. But now I’m cutting back to maybe two to three times about 45 minutes to an hour. Just going by what my body tells me, I’m done going over the limit, just polishing up now.
MMANews.com: I was going to ask you actually, do you ever fear about over training.
K.J. Noons: Ummm, yeah I do because I’m an extremist on everything you know? I just take everything way too far and I was working too hard and I just need to relax and train like normal. Stop training so hard, polish up some things and get ready for the fight.
MMANews.com: Now I know you’re up there with [Brandon] Vera training, he’s actually one of my favorite people to talk to [interview]. What has he done to help improve your game? You’re already a phenomenal striker so can I assume he’s helping you with your ground game as well?
K.J. Noons: He’s helping me on the ground, he’s also, don’t quote me on this, got that what is it, Greco Roman background in wrestling? I think that’s it. So we go over a lot and I think the biggest thing he helps me with is the motivation and drive. I want to be where he’s at, know what I mean? So coming to the gym, he sets the standard.
MMANews.com: Well you’re going to have to put on a lot of weight to get to where he’s at. [Laughs]
K.J. Noons: [Laughs] Yeah!
MMANews.com: Actually, no one even really knows where he’s at right now. He was the UFC’s number one contender then he just kind of disappeared.
K.J. Noons: Yeah, who knows.
MMANews.com: I’m sure we’ll hear something soon. But who else have you been training with besides Vera?
K.J. Noons: A little bit of Rob Kamen but he’s still up doing some things. My main jiu jitsu guy is Mike Fowler, we’ve been working on the ground a lot. He’s a black belt from Lloyd Irvin, same jiu jitsu school Brandon’s [Vera] out of.
K.J. Noons: A lot of people keep on asking me how’s my takedown, how’s my ground work. My ground work is really good, I just choose not to use that in a fight. I like to beat people up, I want to use my hands because that’s more exciting for me.
MMANews.com: I’m actually going to hit on that later and Krazy Horse. I just interviewed him for about ten minutes.
K.J. Noons: Oh yeah, what’s up with him? [Laughs]
MMANews.com: Well I’ll get to that a little later but he had some choice words for you. [Laughs] Ok, now you’re kind of a rare breed in mixed martial arts, you have a contract with Gary Shaw in MMA and boxing right?
K.J. Noons: Uh huh.
MMANews.com: Now how hard is that to balance, it’s got to be pretty rigorous?
K.J. Noons: Yeah, you know right after this fight, I might have to go right back into camp and get ready for a boxing fight. This is what I’ve been doing. This is what I love. This is what I chose to do is fight, this is my career.
MMANews.com: You’re trying to schedule a boxing fight in March right?
K.J. Noons: Yeah.
MMANews.com: That’s really close together. You’re going against Charles Bennett, who's a pretty good striker himself, he has some power. Are you at all concerned that fighting that close together, if you keep going that way, it might shorten your career?
K.J. Noons: Nothing is scheduled for March, that’s just my plan. As long as I don’t come out with no major cuts and no major injuries, that’s the plan. But as far as it shortening my career, I don’t think so. I’m a pretty slick fighter and I don’t get hit too much in boxing. I just turned 24 [years old] last month, I’m still real young in the game. You got guys that are world champs at 42, you know what I mean? So if you look at that point of view, I got at least a decade in me. [Laughs] You have a son, I might be fighting your son. [Laughs]. I could be fighting for a long time.
MMANews.com: My son is actually 2 years old and he’ll be ready for you. [Laughs]
K.J. Noons: So what’s that, another 15 years? I’ll be almost 40, still younger than Randy – whatta ya know?! [Laughs]
MMANews.com: If you stay slick, it’s very possible.
K.J. Noons: There you go.
MMANews.com: Just to inform everyone who might not know, you're 3-0 in MMA with 3 knockouts, 7-1 with 6 knockouts in professional boxing and you were 13-1 with 10 knockouts in Muay Thai competition. Now if you do the math that's roughly around 80 percent knockout ratio, so you obviously have very heavy hands. How would you rate your ground game on say a scale from one to ten?
K.J. Noons: One to ten?
MMANews.com: Yeah, your ground game.
K.J. Noons: Oh man. What would you consider a ten? [laughs]
MMANews.com: Oh man, probably a [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira or an [Ricardo] Arona.
K.J. Noons: Oh, I ain't no ten then. That's for damn sure. [laughs]. Umm, I'd say my submission defense is really good. In order to know your submission defense you need to know the submissions. I'd rate myself an advanced blue belt or lower purple belt in jiu-jitsu.
MMANews.com: Ok, that sounds good. I guess that's around a Nick Diaz. [laughs]
K.J. Noons: Like I said, I'm not really worried about the ground. You know at one point I was training so much on my ground and you know it was like why take away from what I'm good at? It's just going in there and doing what I'm good at. And if I'm confident in myself then it will all roll, you know what I mean? It will all work out.
MMANews.com: So you're pretty much taking a Chuck Liddell approach to this where you use it as a defense mechanism to not be taken down.
K.J. Noons: Yes, exactly. And if it goes to the ground, I'm comfortable down there you know what I mean? It's no big problem.
MMANews.com: Ok, now let's go ahead and move on to this Krazy Horse guy.
K.J. Noons: Oh yeah, how crazy was he for your interview? What did he say is he training or is he playing a lot of basketball?
MMANews.com: Well he said he's training and it's been hard, but you know he said “bleep bleep” “bleep bleep” on his thoughts about you, when I asked him what he thought.
K.J. Noons: [laughing] What'd he say?
MMANews.com: He said “bleep bleep bleep bleep” [laughs] A bunch of F-bombs.
K.J. Noons: Awww man.
MMANews.com: He don't give a “F” about you, he don't give an “F” about anybody. You know his character.
K.J. Noons: Yeah [laughing]
MMANews.com: Now he's been submitted a bit in the past in fights and has been in with some real top Lightweights. Now would you change your game plan at all if say he landed a big one, knowing his ground isn't the most dangerous part of his game?
K.J. Noons: Ummm, you know. My game plan – I've been rocked before and it's not a natural thing for me to just drop down and take somebody down, you know? I fight my way out of it.
MMANews.com: He actually said the same exact thing about you to a similar question.
K.J. Noons: Really? He said he's really gonna stand with me, huh? I've watched a lot of tape on him, he just throws a wild punch and goes for a big slam.
MMANews.com: He made it perfectly clear that he has no intentions of taking this fight to the ground. I asked him if he got hurt would he consider taking you down to the ground and he said no way, if he gets hit he wants to hit back.
K.J. Noons: Yeah?
MMANews.com: So I guess you guys are going to meet in the middle of the ring and have at it.
K.J. Noons: Should make for an exciting fight.
MMANews.com: I told him I think it could be the fight of the night.
K.J. Noons: Oh, I guarantee you that.
MMANews.com: Now what do you think of Charles Bennett as a fighter?
K.J. Noons: As a fighter?
MMANews.com: As a fighter, yeah.
K.J. Noons: He's just an unorthodox fighter and very wild. You got to be able to weather the storm. It should be pretty easy to pick my shots.
MMANews.com: So what do you think his weaknesses are, just the wild punches?
K.J. Noons: No, that's actually his strength. His weakness is probably his wind.
MMANews.com: Cardio issues?
K.J. Noons: Yeah.
MMANews.com: How's your cardio for this fight?
K.J. Noons: Phenomenal.
K.J. Noons: [laughs]
MMANews.com: What about his antics? What do you think about his crazy antics like staring down the camera man, jumping on the top ropes or cage-tops? All that crazy stuff.
K.J. Noons: Hey man, it makes for an entertaining fight. Whatever he's got to do to get as much attention as he needs. As long as he gets knocked out everybody will know who's in there to do some real business. You know what I mean?
MMANews.com: Right. Now you mention he does have an unorthodox style which he does, he's very unorthodox. How do you deal with something like that, do you just sit there and – like you said – pick your shots?
K.J. Noons: You've got keep your hands up man. I tend to get a little cocky, or, I wouldn't say cocky but a little lazy in getting my hands up when fighting a guy like that. You never know what to expect, you know what I mean? I don't know what the hell he's gonna do. You don't know what the hell he's gonna do. He don't know what the hell he's gonna do!
MMANews.com: [laughs] Yeah.
K.J. Noons: I don't know, you don't know, he don't know!
MMANews.com: He's only been stopped once in his long career, do you think his chin can hold up against a striker of your caliber and strength?
K.J. Noons: No.
MMANews.com: Not at all? So you think you're going to knock him out?
K.J. Noons: That's the only outcome of this fight, man.
MMANews.com: Alright K.J. say you come out with a victory here, what are your plans next besides the boxing match on the tenative date in March – as far as MMA, what are you looking for next?
K.J. Noons: What am I looking for next? I just want to get my name out there and get as many fights as I can to prove to the people in the public that I'm a serious contender and I want to make a big splash in the 155 pound division, you know what I mean?
MMANews.com: Well you got a name fighter here that you're facing on a big network like SHOWTIME. An impressive win here would definitely help that. A big knockout would probably bring the big names to you soon.
K.J. Noons: Yeah, I just want people to have respect for – just give respect, you know? I'll prove I'm a contender and work my way up the list.
MMANews.com: Any sponsors you want to mention, anything you want to say before we get out of here?
K.J. Noons: I want to give a shout out to all my family and friends in Hawaii and back in Texas.
MMANews.com: Alright well I will be there this Saturday so I'll see you there. I want to wish you good luck and thank you for taking the time for us today.
K.J. Noons: No problem Luis, thank you. I'll see you at the show.
Don't forget to catch K.J. Noons in action this Saturday night, live on SHOWTIME for the Elite XC “Destiny” show. For more information on K.J. Noons and Elite XC, visit EliteXC.com.