KJ Noons wants Nick Diaz’s belt; Diaz hates conference calls

Despite all the trash talk, K.J. Noons (9-1) respects Nick Diaz (22-7) as a fighter, but he still plans to beat Diaz for a second time and take Diaz’s Strikeforce welterweight title home with him.

“Tell him to bring my belt…same result, different day,” Noons said during a Strikeforce media call on Tuesday about their Oct. 9 rematch in San Jose, Calif.

As for Diaz’s thoughts on the rematch and a chance to avenge a loss he suffered due to a TKO stoppage from a cut back in 2007? Well it’s hard to say, because Diaz didn’t show up.

After a long delay, Diaz’s trainer and manager Cesar Gracie explained that Nick simply never likes going through a conference call with an opponent and was too busy training.

“Nick doesn’t really do the conference call with a guy he’s fighting … he just never has,” Gracie said. “He’s too busy training right now to answer any questions.” (Author’s note: Diaz has participated in previous Strikeforce conference calls, such as this one.)

When pressed about why Diaz chose to bypass the call, Gracie replied, “We’ve gone through this before [with] other people he was going to fight talking on the phone … It’s contrary to what makes him tick … It just doesn’t motivate him to talk to his opponent.”

Gracie added that Nick and his brother Nate don’t harbor any ill-will for personal reasons against any of their opponents; they just don’t like whoever squares off against them.

“They’re going into battle and they’re not friends with the person they’re fighting,” Gracie said.

Seven months after Noons defeated Diaz for the 160-pound title under the now defunct EliteXC banner, Diaz and company came into the cage after Noons’s victory over Yves Edwards and a ruckus ensued. However, the rematch never came to be and Noons was stripped of the title.

“There was a bad relationship between me and EliteXC” because of my manager, Noons said. On top of that, even though he held the belt, EliteXC was going to pay Diaz three-times as much in the rematch, Noons said.

Noons stayed busy in the boxing ring and since returning to MMA he’s picked up three wins this year, including two under the Strikeforce banner.

Asked about moving up to 170, Noons replied, “I told Scott [Coker] when I came to Strikeforce that I want to fight the best guys.”

Noons also said that he’s still open to moving back to 155 if the right offer comes around.

As for the style match-up, Noons is convinced that Diaz, even with his improving striking, will eventually try to take the fight to the ground and utilize his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and size advantage.

“I would have to be stupid to think this guy’s not going to try to take it to the ground,” Noons said.

But Noons isn’t ignoring Diaz’s “unique” striking either, where he utilizes a long reach and a variety of angles.

“Unique with an uppercase,” Noons said of Diaz’s boxing. “It works for him. Would it work for someone like me? No.”

Although Diaz has picked up recent wins over solid strikers such as Scott Smith and Marius Zaromskis, Noons has no doubt that he’ll have the advantage on the feet.

“The people he’s fought are not strikers like me,” Noons said. “They don’t have the pedigree I’ve grown up with.”

Gracie is equally confident that Diaz will get the fight to the ground at some point, though he’s also working with professional boxers – including WBA super middleweight champion Andre Ward – to sharpen his striking skills.

“In a five round fight, I expect it to go to the ground at some point,” Gracie said.

Gracie also thinks Diaz will have more energy this time around without having to cut weight to 160. Diaz was OK making the cut every once in awhile, such as his high profile fight with Takanori Gomi in PRIDE, but constantly cutting down to lightweight took a tool, Gracie said, adding that Diaz looked lethargic in the first fight with Noons.

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