K.J. Noons is well aware of your expectations. Win or lose, the mixed martial arts industry is fundamentally about entertainment, and few in Strikeforce have entertained as consistently as the polarizing 29-year-old.
So as he prepares to battle former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson in the co-main event of Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey on March 3rd, don't be shocked if Noons channels the spirit of Macho Man Randy Savage to help him get that point across.
"My fight is always the fight of the night," he boasted on Tuesday's Strikeforce conference call. "K.J. Noons is definitely stealing the show. Always. Look at my track record."
Strikeforce doesn't award Fight of Night bonuses, and if they did, Noons' bankroll probably would feel the difference. But by all accounts, this isn't an act. His high-pressure, blitzing style just comes naturally, and he would be doing this even if it wasn't expected of him.
"It's just something that's in your blood," Noons explained.
"I've had almost 45 pro fights in boxing, kickboxing, MMA. Every single fight I've had has always been fight of the night. So I know Josh is ready. This is the most I've ever trained. And it's not whether I'm trying to make it the fight of the night. It's just going to be the fight of the night."
Though don't mistake his confidence for something it's not. The last time Noons was this close to the title picture, he fell victim to MMA's key death knell, calling out Gilbert Melendez before stepping into the cage to take care of prior business in the form of Jorge Masvidal.
Everybody knows the story that came next. A surprisingly game Masvidal pulled the upset in decisive fashion, Strikeforce was left to market a headlining tilt that became the third least-watched Showtime event of last year, and Noons was relegated back to the drawing board. After all that, it's hard to blame the Hawaiian if his talk scaled back for Thomson.
"I kind of put my foot in my mouth," he admitted. "Last time I said I was pushing to get a title shot, I lost. So I'm kind of superstitious.
"I just want to concentrate on the fight ahead of me."