Hate is a strong word, but as UFC San Antonio heavyweight Juan Adams explains, he’s an emotional guy. So yes, he hates Greg Hardy, and he has a few reasons why.
San Antonio, TX — Juan Adams has some strong feelings about opponent Greg Hardy heading into this weekend’s UFC San Antonio. Of course, if you’ve at all familiar with Adams, a.k.a. The Kraken, you knew that already. Adams (5-1) has had Hardy in his sights for months on social media, dragging the ex-NFL star’s name through the mud.
Not that said name was squeaky clean to begin with, of course. Hardy was bounced from the NFL after numerous controversies including a domestic violence conviction that was overturned on appeal.
So it’s not really surprising to hear Adams say, after Wednesday’s open workouts, that he has a lot of people rooting for him.
“Most people are saying that they hope I kick his ass,” Adams told reporters including Cageside Press. “Obviously there’s those one or two fans out there, and we as humans tend to focus on the negative sometimes.”
That little bit of negative adds up. “Sometimes it seems like for every ten positives I get, there’s one negative, but that one negative effects you a little bit more,” Adams admitted. “But we’ve been working on that. I mute most of them. Pretty much a 90-10 split is what I get right now.”
Adams was willing to admit Wednesday that in a way, Hardy has brought about something positive. “The more I think about it, I was a little bit jealous of all the push he’s getting. We both came from the Contender Series, I had more fights than him, I felt like I deserved it a lot more. But it’s a business, it is what it is, I’ve got to respect management’s decision.” And now, Juan Adams is getting a little bit of that push, simply by being booked opposite a man whom for many is Public Enemy Number 1. “I still hate the dude, don’t get me wrong,” Adams added.
While many have called this a grudge match, Adams has another term for his pairing with Hardy. “I wouldn’t call it a grudge match so much as me proving them wrong. It’s a proving match for me,” he said.
“I feel this is something I really need to do to prove myself. That’s why I lobbied for it so hard.” He also intends to show the difference between a real fighter, and what you might call an athletically gifted fraud. “You’ve got to put in the work, you’ve got to pay your dues to make it at this. There’s a difference between being a really good athlete, and being a really good fighter that’s athletic.”
“He’s a really good athlete, don’t get me wrong,” allowed Adams, “but he’s not a real fighter.”
As with any fight with a hot story line behind it, some fans might be holding their breath for a game of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em robots come Saturday night. Well, exhale. “I’m going to fight a mixed martial arts contest. It’s a fight, it’s not a boxing match, it’s not a barroom brawl. It is a fight,” said Adams. “I’m going to go in there and fight, execute my game plan, and we’re going to see what happens. Anything can happen, you can get clipped, but I don’t see it happening for me. I see me imposing my will, enforcing my game plan, and coming away with the victory.”
He has all kinds of advantages, including “striking accuracy, overall striking, cardio, I feel like I have the edge there, grappling I definitely have the edge, so that’s where I stand.” And should it go the distance, “it’s going to turn into a clinic.”
While hate might seem like a strong word for a man you are contractually obligated to compete against, Adams explained that “I like to say love and hate are two sides of the same coin. It’s a very passionate emotion that it evokes from me. People that I like, it’s love. People that I don’t like, it’s hate. I’m a very passionate dude. Very emotional.”
As for the reason behind the hatred, there are several, actually. “It’s one thing to get stuff from your peers, it’s another thing to get stuff from very low intelligence people that don’t know anything about it. Every night, I’m hearing the same stuff. ‘You should fight Greg Hardy’ or ‘you’re afraid to fight Greg Hardy,'” revealed Adams. It’s these constant attempts to undermine him that he finds grating. “Me as a person, as a man, nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to have their strength challenged like that.”
Especially when “I’m asking for the fight, and he’s avoiding it. That’s why I hate him.”
“Also just his whole demeanor, hearing all the stuff, seeing all the benefits that he’s getting that I’m working so hard for,” Adams added. “I really had to work a lot to get noticed by the UFC. I fought seven times in sixteen months to get my shot on Contender Series.” Meanwhile, Hardy, a star in another league, got the golden ticket in. “He washed out of the NFL, said I want to fight, and he gets a shot. That’s a big part of it.”
Hardy’s past domestic violence issues are another reason, one that “bothers me a lot.”
“When I was six years old, the guy my mom was dating at the time came home, put his hands on her. I tried to fight him, I couldn’t do anything, I was six fighting a grown man, me and my three year old brother.” When Adams as a grown man delved into the Hardy case, “reading that police report, just rubbed me the wrong way. Seeing him show no remorse for it at all, not even make an attempt — it’s pretty simple, just make an apology statement — but clearly he’s not sorry for what he did, and he doesn’t regret it.”
All the more reason for Juan Adams, fighting at home in Texas, to hate his opponent.