(I think the message was quite clear. I specifically told Nick NOT to be scared.)
It looks like Strikeforce has missed the marketing train once again as the promotion has passed on a self-selling grudge match between Jason "Mayhem Miller" and Nick Diaz and will instead once again pair the latter up with KJ Noons in a rematch of their 2007 EliteXC title bout. In that fight, Noons emerged victorious due to doctor stoppage resulting from a cut sustained by Diaz. More memorable than their bout was the in-cage melee between Team Cesar Gracie and Noons’ father a year later after Noons’ fight with Yves Edwards in Hawaii during which Nick’s immortal "Don’t be scared, homie," line was born. EliteXC brass orchestrated a rematch-hyping staredown between KJ and Nick, but as we have learned, whenever a Diaz is involved, anything can, and usually will happen.
This time around Diaz’s welterweight strap will be up for grabs, which makes perfect sense according to Strikeforce calculus. Anywhere else Noons may have to…I don’t know…win a fight at 170 perhaps before getting a shot for the belt. But this is Strikeforce, where logic is overrated and matchmaking is easy if you have a magic eight ball.
Scrolling through the Strikeforce welterweight roster, its no wonder the fight was made, considering there aren’t many other options. Diaz already beat Marius Zaromskis, Jay Hieron has left the promotion and the chances that Joe Riggs will ever beat Diaz again are about as good as him ever headlining a card other than a Strikeforce Challengers show.
According to Cesar Gracie’s official website, GracieFighter.com, both sides have verbally agreed to the bout and are waiting on the paperwork to make it official.
I’m no marketing genius, but If I were Strikeforce, I would be jumping on the wave of momentum that Miller’s MTV fame and the Nashville brawl created rather than try to put together a rematch between two guys that many new fans don’t even realize have history together. The only issue with that would be that fans would be up in arms about the fact that, by the time Diaz will have defended his Strikeforce belt for the first time, over a year would likely have passed. We all know what that did for Alistair Overeem‘s street cred.
I like the fight itself. I make mention on this week’s podcast that I want to see noons fight a guy with hands and a chin before I’m convinced he’s a contender and Diaz fills the bill nicely. I wasn’t sure he was ever going back to 155, since he fought most of his fights at 185 and 170 last year and a half, but now that Noons is moving up to welterweight it makes for an intriguing fight, regardless of whether or not Noons deserves a title shot.