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Juan Adams: ‘Every person in America wants me to beat Greg Hardy’s a—’

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One UFC heavyweight has been calling out Greg Hardy looking to make a statement. Turns out, he’s gotten his wish.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Ottawa-Weigh Ins Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

UFC fighter Juan Adams (4-0 amateur, 5-1 pro) trampled his way to the big leagues after an undefeated run as an amateur and three straight finishes to start his career in LFA. Making a habit out of trouncing opponents, his arrival has been a somewhat quiet one despite bringing some major violence in his Contender Series win to get his foot in the door, earning a UFC contract in the process.

With a colorful personality (and wardrobe), Adams wasn’t on too many fans’ radar until fairly recently, where he started calling out former NFL player Greg Hardy on Twitter:

After the first decision loss of his career against Canadian Arjan Bhullar last month, the UFC announced a fight between the two to settle things. So naturally, we reached out to Adams to discuss this turn of events, what’s animating his dislike for Hardy, and how he sees the UFC’s handling of the situation thus far.


VR: First off, thanks for making the time to do this. So, uh.. you got your wish! And in a weird way, right? Did you expect this to happen, and if so, did you expect it to happen this soon?

JA: Uh, no. Honestly did not expect that Greg Hardy would ever want to fight me. I figured it was just an easy target just to make fun of him, I didn’t think he was actually going to accept the fight. I didn’t think the UFC would give him the fight, I think they’re trying to protect him for a little while longer, but I especially didn’t expect to get this fight coming off of a loss. Typically when you lose a fight you don’t get what you want from the company. So it’s good, there’s been a lot of pressure and I’ve talked a lot of shit but I’m ready for it. I think I’m at such a higher level than he is that he can’t catch up, but losing my last fight has just fueled me to train a lot harder.

VR: Looking at your skillset compared to his, what do you feel are holes in his game that you can exploit and things that you do better than him?

JA: I think my striking is cleaner than his, you know? I think my wrestling and grappling are clearly better than his, and I think my cardio is better than his. My output per fight is, last fight I threw over 200 strikes, right? I went the distance and the fight before that I threw like 100 something strikes in ten minutes and change, so I think my cardio and output are better. I just think I’m better everywhere. He might have better straight line speed, unidirectional speed, but in terms of lateral movement and moving in different directions, I really don’t think he can handle me.

VR: I guess we gotta step back here for a second — what prompted all this energy towards him? You were very much out the gate pretty vocal about your dislike for him and desired to fight him. What spurred that?

JA: Honestly man, a lot of people compared the two of us from the get-go and me, the life I’ve lived, I’ve done pretty much the right thing most of the time. I’ve never been arrested, none of that shit, and to be compared to someone with his past, someone that has been arrested with cocaine in his system, been arrested for domestic violence — whether he was convicted or not, he was arrested — for that to be a comparison, it bothered me a lot. On top of that, in my fights I’ve fought guys that had pro aspirations. Most of the people I’ve fought wanted to fight in the UFC at some point and they didn’t. After they fight me, they don’t fight for a very long time. I fought other prospects, I fought other guys who are actually looking at it and had a career ahead of them. He’s fought, as an amateur, a 44-year -old, a 42-year-old and a 37-year-old. When you’re still that age competing as an amateur, you know where you’re not going (chuckles). His best opponent as a pro aside from Allan Crowder was his first opponent (on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Austen Lane). His first opponent on Contender Series was decent, but he only walked around at 240. His opponents got consistently worse after he fought that guy. That was my problem with the guy. My opponents have gotten better at every step of my career, and I firmly believe that any of my last three opponents would wash him.

VR: Well, you have had... you know, you look at all of your fights until now and even in your amateur career, you’ve never gone to a decision until your last bout. You were not only undefeated, but you were finishing every single fight. I’m sure that you’re confident to envision finishing Hardy in your upcoming matchup, how do you see that playing out? What do you think would be the avenues to purse to make that happen?

JA: I think he gasses out after two minutes, I’d just start jabbing him. He either tries to take a bad shot or a wild haymaker and I take him down, get on top of him, and I’m literally gonna hit every part of his body until he can’t take it no more. A lot of people want a quick finish, I don’t want that. I want to prove that this was a mistake for him, I want to prove that he doesn’t belong here. Like I’ve already said before, at the end of the day, his career is going to be remembered as nothing more than a publicity stunt. To have his name mentioned in the same sentence as mine pisses me off. The fact that for him to go and compare himself to Michael Jordan? One of the greatest athletes of all time based off of wins over guys that have never won in the UFC? All of his opponents combined at the time of facing him have had zero UFC wins. That’s ridiculous. The guy I just recently lost to, Arjan Bhullar, he’s 8-1? 9-1? (note: Bhullar’s record now stands at 9-1) Only lost one fight in the UFC.

VR: Canadian national team wrestler, yeah.

JA: Yeah. The quality of, I can’t take anything away from his accomplishments. His (Hardy’s) opponents don’t have any of that.

VR: You’ve been saying some things recently that pretty much echo a sentiment that I’ve been putting out there. He was arrested and ultimately didn’t serve any time for the domestic violence situation. Not because he wasn’t guilty, but because charges were dropped when the victim refused to cooperate. He never went to any sort of therapy, he never did any sort of volunteer work — it’s like he never seemed like someone that had essentially paid any sort of price as a consequence of what happened with his domestic violence case. And instead of showing any degree of contrition or being helped along by the UFC to set those things into place, it seems that they’ve been shielding him from that. Clearly, they have a lot invested in him, what do you think that’s about? What do you think they’re truly gaining out of that?

JA: You know, it’s one of those things where people always ask how different athletes would do in other sports, right? It always happens. A lot of people wonder how basketball players, or NFL players would do in MMA and now you got a former NFL player that had one good season in the NFL at least, I mean, he made a Pro Bowl. Someone of that caliber, that kind of athlete concentrating on Mixed Martial Arts, the problem is he’s only been doing this... he’s been doing this the same amount of time I have. The difference is my background was a combative sport, his was not. He’s just not ready, he doesn’t display the skillset other than a right hand. But even that’s questionable because he’s fought guys that are scared of him. As a professional, he’s fought two guys that are over six feet tall. It’s ridiculous. He fought a guy that was six feet tall, 280lbs. Like, come on, man. Then the next guy he fought after that was six foot even, 240? 1-1 record? That’s not... you know, that’s not... that’s nothing. Me? At 2-0 as a pro I fought a guy that was 8-7 and had like ten pro boxing fights, something like that. Owned a boxing gym. Ranked number one in Louisiana and number three in Texas. He fought... that (chuckles). So it’s just ridiculous. On Contender Series I fought a guy that was ranked ahead of me, nationally. Number five in the country and was looked at as a UFC-ready prospect and I made him look ridiculous. There’s different levels to this and he doesn’t respect that at all.

VR: So, we’re gonna walk through a little scenario here: Juan Adams steps in against Greg Hardy, goes full Kraken, superstyles on him, how do you think that plays out later on? Do you think you’re gonna have a target on your back after that as a result?

JA: No. I think, you know, people will thank me for getting him out of the UFC, one. And two, every person in America wants me to beat Greg Hardy’s ass. You know it’s funny, one of his ex-girlfriends messaged me on Instagram saying she hopes I beat his ass. Nobody wants him to win this fight except for the delusional tip-riders. That’s it.

VR: What kind of prep are you doing for this upcoming match? Are you sticking with what usually works for you or are you getting some other looks in other gyms? What’s the setup looking like for you?

JA: You know, we’ve added a few things to the training, focusing more on cardio and nutrition and things like that. That last fight left a sour taste in my mouth so I haven’t been really eating like I normally do between fights. I’m taking it a lot more seriously and kind of changing my lifestyle, taking it back to when I was that hungry amateur. That hungry early pro fighter, really grinding it out more. I can honestly say I’ve gotten a little complacent in my training but that’s all gone now.

VR: Last question: any message for Greg Hardy before we ship off here?

JA: Fuck you.

Juan Adams faces Greg Hardy at UFC on ESPN 4, scheduled for July 20th at 9:00pm EST. They’ll be opening the main card live from San Antonio, TX.