Ep. #11 – Juan Adams

Juan Adams is a mixed martial artist who fights for Ares FC. The former UFC heavyweight was signed by the organization after a dominant performance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.


Juan Adams: What’S up, can you hear me okay, yeah yeah. Do you see me now yeah yeah, alright, perfect? How are things there at the quarantine and everything going on? I mean it sucks all the classes are cancelled. You know, nothing’s really going on a lot of people left. The gym you know I still live in the dorm at the gym, so we’ve just been working. I’Ve been trying to get privates in when I can go in for runs, hiking and stuff just little stuff to get out every now and then, but for the most part you know, sitting inside in my room 10 to 12 hours a day is not fun. Hey! You and uh you and Albuquerque are back home in Houston, okay, yeah, no, soon same sort of boat. Here, like we’re all locked in nothing, we can get fine for being out so uh, it’s kind of stuck at home, nah, I’m a fighter. So I guess it’s not as bad but still still sucks. First things: first man Congrats on signing with Ares yeah. What what was the? What was the decision? What was the reasoning behind that decision? You know obviously there’s other organizations like Bellator right. What what happened? Is you know I tweeted that I got released and then an hour later, Ares came through with an offer and you know the way it works. Is you know your intro contract to the UFC is typically like 10,000 oats and bowels on a win, and then you win, and it goes up each time so me coming off of three losses like a lot of places, weren’t really looking for anything a lot of Local shows had asked, but I knew if I went back to fighting on the local show I was gon na have to probably you know, go back to working full-time again as well. Well, Aries! You know they came out with an offer. That was, you know. Just too good to refuse it’s uh, I’m actually making a little bit more than I was with the UFC I’ll, be able to travel more. It’S a younger organization as well, and that just fits really well for me and in terms of building a brand and doing things like that, we can both benefit each other. I’Ve got a big following right now, so they can benefit from that. I can benefit from as a as they grow as a company in me being one of their fighters. It will help grow me and they’ll be able to feature me more, and I can start doing things that you know. I probably wasn’t gon na get the chance to do with the UFC, because I’m not an established star in that organization, and I didn’t establish for myself as a star in that organization, so here I get a chance to still fight international competition. I still you know, make a living from fighting, and, on top of that, like it’s a you know, started dipping my toes and to know a little bit of broadcasting work being a bit of an ambassador for that company. Doing things like that and really just being like one of the first first way, the fighters with that company, so you know I get a little bit of getting to make history a little bit getting you know, hazel pave the road, for you know life after fighting And at the same time like for the current, I get to still fight and do what I love to do and and train, and you know really get a chance to start over. So all that played a big part in it. Yeah the is they’re they’re based out of France right and they have both African and European wings, which i think is kind of neat, because there’s no other organization that really you’ve got organizations in Africa and smaller organizations in Europe, but nothing that’s kind of like United Things, which is why I really like the organization. I thought they had a really really good first first card. Are you looking to get on that because they’re back in Belgium, I think in October, is that when you’re looking to return or well, I’ve actually agreed to fight August in August, in South Africa and with all the corona stuff, that’s going around my fight got postponed Indefinitely so I’m looking to be on their first card back, you know I wanted to fight three times this year minimum. So, ideally I want to fight four times a year, but the this year. I know for a fact: that’s not gon na happen. So, whenever they’re up and running again, you know I want to be on that that first, that first event, if not on the event, I’d like at least like to you know, be I’ll, be a part of a broadcast team for it or just go to the Event and introduce myself to you know all the workers for that company all of the fans of that company, and you know, but basically just really familiarize myself with the fan base the organization and everyone who helps make it operate. That’S what I really look forward to so well, if I could get on that car great, if not I’ll, be alright but yeah. I just I just want to fight against ooh yeah yeah. I mean what have you thought because you said you want to travel and you want to broadcast, obviously where you’re training they have a lot of affiliates right. They have affiliates in Austria, Italy have you looked at, I’m obviously not right now with everything that’s going on, but have you looked at perhaps even training at those facilities yeah, I thought about it and it’s just it wouldn’t be a good fit for me. I don’t think the big thing where my people realize you know you can’t just like lift up and transplant him and go somewhere and make it be the right fit. You know my gyms back home. It worked great for me because everyone adjusted kind of my schedule. The downside was that I was just a lot better than anyone. I was training with and I wasn’t really getting much better myself and on top of that, I wasn’t surrounded with you know: full-time fighters, people that were really all in Oh plan B like it’s either. This is gon na work or I’m gon na fall flat. On my face coming out to Jackson wink, you know whoa back to being back home. It also worked really well because personality-wise, I did great with my striking coach, my jujitsu coach, my all my MMA coaches back home. I got along very well with so it was more than just a coach student relationship. You know and that’s very important to me and I came here to Jackson wink and I was a little nervous because I didn’t I didn’t know if I would still have that if I would still connect with the coaches and I have connected with the coaches. I have connect to all my teammates out here, and I’ve really made this a home for me and it’s great, because I’ve kept got that home feeling, but there’s none of the home distractions here, yeah so moving to a new country. If I were to go to one of those places I feel like it would, it would lead to not necessarily a whole lot of distractions, but I don’t know if it would be a good fit for me, because I don’t think I would be able to truly Focus isn’t the right word yeah and notice myself completely in the training like I have here, and they also lack you know, Greg Jackson, isn’t it early John Jones isn’t in Italy, so obviously the masterminds behind that camp aren’t over there? What’S it what’s it like training? Obviously, under Greg Jackson who’s, you know arguably the best the best coach in all of them a. How is that? How has that changed, your your fighting style and your game plan, and just just your mental outlook going into fights, you know it’s. It’S changed immensely. Honestly, a training with Greg, because it’s a lot more than just the physical stuff. We do a lot of you know macro planning, and then we get into the fine details and I think he’s got the perfect balance of the juice. Some guys are just too too broad with it, and I eat a freestyle little too much and and some people micromanage your game plan way too much and the combination between Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn is great because when I’m with Coach wink, you know – I know It’S always going to be, you know a barn burner or workout, so we’re gon na work hard. I’M gon na get tired and I’m gon na be rapping good techniques every time, because we’re not gon na move on to the next thing, and so I get that that one thing right and that’s cool and then, when Greg, you know he’s got a great blend Of you know the technique and the physical training aspect of it as well. You know we will run mountains sometimes well. Sometimes we’re doing just grappling work and things like that with Coach wink, I don’t even ever, have to run afterwards, I’m so dead after a hole. I want to do anything for the day so, but that outlook you know for the first time when I went into this fight, I felt like I really belong there. I felt like there was. You know there was. I wasn’t stressed at all because there was nothing more I could have done. I knew I had done everything right going into that fight. You know. Sometimes you can do everything right and it still won’t work out, though – and you know that’s just part of life, but I came right back. We got right back to work. Everyone was happy. I came back and happy to keep training, so you know it’s the perfect fit there wasn’t any bitterness or animosity after a loss. Yeah I feel, like I watched, I mean I’ve watched all four of your fights in the UFC and I thought the first one. You know it was you you’ve got to fight your fight. Obviously Beeler. I think that’s how you pronounce his name is incredible fighter he’s fighting for the one Fc heavyweight title, so there’s no, there’s no shame and that and that that loss I found BAM with the other two. It’S like you, never really even had a chance to get going. Obviously they were both really early. What what are you planning on doing? I guess an upcoming fight. Are you planning on maybe starting early holding back or what’s your what’s your game plan? What are you, what are you thinking about doing and what changes can you implement going forward to kind of avoid that uh? You know, I think I kind of changed the way I fought to more, be more striking, centric and and trying you striking to set up my wrestling a lot more, but I never pulled the trigger on my wrestling and then, when I did, I was rushing it At things like that, I think I just I’m getting back to just more pressure. You know just moving forward a lot more, not not being afraid to lose or not. You know, cuz the way I see you know the worst thing that can possibly happen. You want to fight a hearty happy so that that fear is gone and you know I just want to get back to doing what I do. Well, you know, that’s that’s moving forward, pushing the pace you know hit and throw a lot of punches and getting a lot of takedowns using that wrestling. Making people feel my weight feel that pressure and just you know putting it on guys yeah. So you were, you were d1 d1 wrestler right, yes, yeah and you played some some college football. No, no! No! I had a so. I went to a small Division, one school yeah Russell and then that spring they had asked me to try out for the football team, and I was gon na, be like third string and at the time I think that that team had one maybe two games in Three years, so I couldn’t rationalize myself being a you know, you know top three top four in the conference for wrestling and then going and not even seeing the field on the team that isn’t close to being at the top. So that’s where my football stuff ended. I got injured my senior year in high school playing football, and so that’s what they actually led to me going to wrestle Division one instead of trying to play football at that level, and then I had an NFL tryout after my last year in college, with my With my Packers in yeah yeah, well, no, but the trial was set up and the Packers came down to the facility. I was training at and evaluated me, but uh. You know, I just wasn’t there. I really just don’t like football. I love working out. I just don’t like football, I don’t know what it is. You know we got down. We were running the 40s and like they gave me two chances to run a 40 and like one of them I fell and the other one. I went like about five. Second, forty and like oh, my oh, my agility stuff was great. You know I had great agility times and all that they loved watching me work out and explode and do my lifts and stuff like that, that’s just when I got to doing football stuff. I just didn’t like it and I wasn’t very good at it, so I switched and that’s that’s right after that is when I started training for MMA, and you know everything just kind of took off for me what was uh? What was that transition like from wrestling to MMA? Obviously you see a lot of wrestlers DC Ben Askren, guys like that high level college wrestlers make that transition. What was a, how was it like was it? Was it weird? You know seeing seeing punches and stuff like that, and I guess how did that? How how did that transition go? I wouldn’t pretty well for me. The hardest thing was getting used to the kicks honestly kicks in and the knees, and then you know, there’s so many nuances to every sport that you do. Every every aspect of combat sports are so many different nuances to it. So learning the different nuances of striking is really different. You know there’s so many different ranges to play with there’s different angles. Things can come from different strategies based on someone’s stance and and things like that, and I’m still learning that. So I wouldn’t even say that I’m fully used to it, yet I’m just better at it than a lot of people yeah, I mean you’re still pretty under the game. Only what eight eight fights so there’s still a lot of time there today to develop. One of my favorite pictures, I think ever is a picture of you sitting next to Tyra. What how is it like cutting to is there’s not many guys. I have to cut to make 265 what what’s it like having to cut cut that? Obviously it’s probably a lot harder to do. Cardio when you’re carrying around 280 pound body than someone who’s 170. Have you thought of like even taking like a super heavyweight fight, or is it just? You know that 20 that last 20 pounds isn’t too too too difficult. Well, you know it’s really not that hard. For me, it’s all about the last 15 to 17 pounds of anyway cut. I do it’s a we handle it with a water cut, and you know we’re pretty scientific about my water cut. I’Ve barely even had to get in the sauna. My last three or four fights, so it’s not that bad! You know now. I would take a super heavyweight fight. If Alfred. You know it’s all about payment honestly at this point. So if I’m going to take a super heavyweight fight, it’s it’s! I’M not gon na. Take a fight from you know two or three thousand dollars. You know I just I’m not gon na. Do that. The biggest reason I didn’t take in the super heavyweight fights as an amateur or early in my pro career is because the goal was to get to the USC and UFC doesn’t have a super heavyweight division. Now that I’ve already been in the UFC and that, if I, if it were, if there’s a new self again yeah, I probably would go back, but I’m just about growth as a fighter. Right now – and I also look at things that are going to allow me to you – know – get the best price for me and get the best fights to really grow as a martial artist. You know most guys do that in their amateur career or in their early pro career on the regional scene, and I never really got that chance. So I’m trying to do it as best I can on the fly fighting internationally now, so it is different, but that that’s the short version I guess of why I never took him super heavyweight fights and, lastly, there’s a there’s a couple: a couple of things in The news one is literally minutes old, gage E versus Ferguson. How do you feel about that, and how do you think it? How do you think it plays out? I’M actually more excited for this, and I think I would be for khabib in Ferguson. Yes, I think what styles are their styles are very different, I’m actually very excited sketchy has good wrestling, he just doesn’t use it when he fights and his striking is that dude hits hard man. He hits hard, he can take a hit. Tony is, and I wouldn’t call Tony much of a power puncher, but he couldn’t he’d just go for days. He can hit you from all different kinds of angles: he’s always inflicting damage and Gacey, but gage he’s. You know he lands. One kick you’re gon na feel it. He lands. One punch, you’re gon na feel it he’s always got that just lights out power and he can very easily. I don’t say I wouldn’t say easily, but he can very readily negate Tony’s grappling advantages. So I think this is gon na be a really good fight and I’m actually leaning toward gage, hmm yeah. I have gay Chi, I think if kg was more prepared, he’d have a better chance. I think, on short notice. I have no idea, but I do like H E as well, also in the news, your teammate John, I guess from someone who trains with them every day. How do you see him mentally? Obviously, we see it as fans and obviously we’re disappointed and upset very, very good outcome. I guess, but as a teammate and as a friend how’d it like. What are your thoughts on everything that transpired no. As a teammate and a friend of John’s, I don’t really see all my issues with what he what happened to him? How that went down are you know we’re told to stay in we’re told to stay home. You know you we’re not supposed to be going out and stuff like that, just from the simple Quarantine perspective – and you know just so for him to go out and that is kind of a slap in the face to everyone that is forced to stay. You know. Stick at home and not do that, then, on top of that you know the drinking and driving um. I don’t know too much of John’s history, but that’s you know, that’s his choice and my thing, my philosophy on life and things like that or simply you know you can do whatever you want as long as you’re, not endangering other people, you’re, not hurting any other People, and as long as you’re willing to accept all the repercussions of what you do go for it. So Eddie you’re, a grown man he’s a grown man he’s a grown individual. He can do whatever he wants to do. You know what I look at it from that he didn’t get hurt. You know he might be a little bit embarrassed, but we all have stuff like that. You know everybody’s got stuff that they do. Everyone makes mistakes, I don’t think of him as any. Worse of a person for that, this is something that I personally would have got no, but you know just yes, John, that’s part of who he is. You know he’s gon na do stuff like that, you know. Let him be. You know nobody got hurt. He apologized he’s doing better. You know he’s trying on now shooting his bows and arrows all that. So it’s the way. I see it also, you know it’s his business. If you wanted to talk to me about it, he would he hasn’t. He hasn’t reached out to me as a texting. You know that so, as I am, you know, live your life bro do what you have to do. That just does my output on and I’m very i as me as a grown man. I don’t I try not to concern myself too much about what other yeah grown. Ups are doing. You know, everyone live your life if you want to have an interaction, we’ll have an interaction, if not that’s cool too yeah, and I guess someone else who you’ve had. There’S been, I guess in the past, had some had a rough upbringing is someone you had a lot of beef with and one of your your former opponents. That’S actually, what really uh why I ended up liking you so much was you’re one of the few people calling for that fight against Greg Hardy. Obviously, he’s got a big fight coming up. What what’s the one thing that the one takeaway I guess from that fight? Does he hit hard like, yes, is one of the a lot of people? I like he’s, not a he’s. A football player he’s not a fighter it. Obviously I thought that was stopped a little bit prematurely and I think you you do too is that a fight you’d want back if, if it was ever presented to you yeah, if they were present I’d like to do that again, you know he didn’t hit hard. I wasn’t hurt a pop right up. You know the reason. I stayed in that position so long because I thought I wasn’t taking any damage, but you know I had a chain of events in my head that a chain of moves. I was gon na, follow if certain things happen, but the fight will stop before those things. Could happen? That’S all I can say about it. I can’t really critique the guy too much anymore. You know he beat me, you know I lost that fight, no matter what anyone thinks I. I can’t change the outcome of that. What I did learn from that you know I was a little too emotionally invested going into that fight. You know, and I that kind of changed the way that uh that I go about and I approach fights in general Dallas because I you know, I’m still learning. I’M still learning what does and doesn’t work for me. Some guys need that emotional energy. They need that emotional burnout to to fight. Well, I’m not one of them and I need to go in there. I need to be focused yes, but not overly intent on one thing, so I don’t think I was loose enough going into that. I didn’t. I wasn’t fighting like myself and that’s okay. You know at the end of the day, this is a sport. It’S a competition! There’S gon na be a winner, there’s gon na be a loser every time and I can’t just throw a hissy fit every time I lose you’re in a Yoram, probably one of the best camps for that you’ve got two great masterminds as coaches. Arguably one of the smartest fighters of all time as well there, so I’m glad that you’re you’re in a good place in terms of where your you are mentally, as well as where you are physically. If it sounds like you’ve, you’ve found a good home there and in Albuquerque thanks again for taking the time, appreciate it and I’m looking forward to your next fight, and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later, yeah thanks man yeah. I definitely agree well, but yeah. No problem. Thanks for everything all right, man have a good one, all the best you too man,

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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