Juan Adams after his UFC debut victory

UFC heavyweight Juan Adams (5-1) steps into the Octagon for the third time this Saturday at UFC San Antonio. Standing across the cage from “The Kraken” will be the ever-controversial Greg Hardy (4-1).

Adams has been calling for a fight with Hardy for months. The 27-year-old is open in interviews and on social media about his dislike of the former NFL player who was arrested for domestic violence back in 2014. Whenever Adams mentions Hardy on Twitter or Instagram, the #FuckGregHardy hashtag is prominently displayed at the end of his post.

Being so blatant in his disdain for his opponent has drawn the ire of Hardy’s fans. Adams is confused by the fact that Hardy even has fans and assumes there must be a deeper issue fueling their support for him.

“Most of them are all really dumb. Like, they either have clear mental disabilities or it’s high school kids that can’t get laid or are angry with women, so they support Greg [Hardy] hitting them. It’s a lot of clowns. They’re really dumb; they’re not smart at all.” Adams told The Body Lock’s John Hyon Ko.

As irrational as those messages are to Adams, what truly boggles his mind are the ones from people who do not fight or practice martial arts that critique his performances and offer advice to him. For Adams, that’s akin to him telling an architect he’s played with Lego, so he can explain how to design a building. There’s a difference between being a fan of the game and being in it. And even though he does fight professionally, Adams understands where he’s at in his career.

“Me? I’m never going to critique Jon Jones. I will never critique a UFC Hall of Famer because they’re at a level that I aspire to be.”

Finding new dedication in defeat

No doubt these armchair coaches came out of the woodwork last May. It was then that Adams lost a decision to Arjan Bhullar at UFC Ottawa. Media were split on the scores for the bout. Adams landed more strikes and Bhullar took him to the mat with his world-class wrestling but he didn’t do much with the takedowns besides control Adams. Adams felt he should’ve won the fight, but he also doesn’t think the result was a “robbery.”

“Do I feel I won that? Yeah, I do. But there’s a lot of people who will say, ‘Well, it’s mixed martial arts and you didn’t win every area of the fight.’ and I’m like, ‘Well, neither did he.’ If he won the grappling, then I won the striking so it goes to what they [the judges] value more. He took me down two times and I didn’t take him down at all.  But I feel like if you hit someone over a hundred times and they don’t hit you even a hundred that you should win that area. You also have to look at the damage done. His face was pretty messed up after that fight, mine wasn’t.”

Adams states the Bhullar fight was his worst performance to date. The loss crushed him but was integral in Adams’ journey to become even more dedicated. Being one of the few heavyweights who has to cut to the 265-pound limit, Adams has been more careful with his diet. He’s also been focusing much more on his wrestling and cleaning up his striking and nutrition. Adams isn’t just changing his approach for his upcoming fight; he’s making lifestyle changes.

Facing Greg Hardy

One person who doesn’t message Juan Adams is his aforementioned opponent this Saturday, Greg Hardy. Adams claims the mother of Hardy’s children messages him and one of his coaches “talks shit” on Facebook, but never Hardy. Adams believes that’s in his best interest.

“I’m definitely a lot smarter and wittier than him. So if he tried to engage me on that platform, it wouldn’t end well for him.”

As little as Adams thinks of Hardy as a person, he thinks even less of his fighting style.

“He’s just a bully. It’s part of his personality. He’s looking to land that right hand. He’s looking to swarm and hit you fast and hard and get you out of there. There’s nothing wrong with that style. He’s like a very much less-polished Derrick Lewis. A much less-skilled version of Derrick Lewis. And all the guys he’s been fighting have all been afraid of him other than Allen Crowder. I think that’s the only guy that really took the fight to him at all. And people can say whatever they want about Hardy’s power, but he couldn’t knock out Crowder and Crowder’s next opponent knocked him out in ten seconds.”

“It’s been a lot of swarming. He likes to swarm his opponents and they back up. They’re afraid of him and I’m not afraid of him. In none of my fights have you seen me back up like that. No matter how many times I get hit, I keep pressing forward.”

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