Over the last three to five years the heavyweight division has struggled to find the next young superstar. The average age of a UFC top 15 heavyweight is almost 34 years old, with only four men being under the age of 30.
The sport needs someone with the size, talent, and raw instincts to be the next big thing. To give the division something they didn’t know they were missing. MMA needs “The Kraken.”
I had the opportunity to speak with heavyweight prospect Juan “The Kraken” Adams (1-0) before his fight against Brice Ritani-Coe at LFA 26 on November 3rd in Houston, TX.
For your convenience you can check out the audio or transcription of the interview below. Make sure to watch LFA 26 on Friday November 3rd at 9 pm ET/ 8 pm CT live on AXS TV from the Arena Theatre in Houston, TX.
Tim Thompson from MMANews.com here with Juan “The Kraken” Adams. Juan, How are you?
I’m doing great man, how are you?
Doing fantastic, thank you. Juan, you are fighting at LFA 26 coming up here in Houston, TX. Next week. You are Fighting Brice Ritani-Coe. A heavyweight battle. How are you feeling? How is camp going? What’s going on with you?
I am feeling great. Camp is going great. Just cutting the last few pounds and going from there.
Obviously, you are in Texas for this. Where do you spend the majority of your training camp?
The majority of this training camp I spent with my strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Baker. We do all our work at Studio Fitness in the Heights. I train striking with David Kelly in the Fight Lab and I do all my sparring and stuff at Paradigm Training Center. Most of my time is devoted to strength and conditioning.
You have a nice little mix up there. I know you have also spent some time in Colorado with Curtis Blades, correct?
Yes sir. It’s always fun going out there. It’s always fun going out there and getting a new look. Curtis is great. One of the few people I can actually just go straight wrestling with. I don’t get that opportunity that often down here. Not very many high level wrestlers.
You have a great amateur background. For those people who don’t know. I believe you were 14-0 as an amateur?
No. I was 4-0 as an amateur. I think I might have had 13 minutes and some change of total ring time.
I must have misread. 4-0, not 14-0. You go out there, all of your fights have been finishes. You have one professional fight under your belt, that’s a finish. You go and you get the call from Curtis Blaydes. Obviously he is in the UFC. He is doing big things as well. You mention his wrestling background and pedigree that he has. How valuable is that experience for you? Getting the opportunity to go out there.
It was super valuable. Ya know, going and training with a stable of pro fighters out there. It was high level of pro fighters at that. All these guys with World Series of Fighting experience. Bellator experience. UFC experience. Going out there and kinda seeing where I stack up against them was huge for me. It gave me even more confidence coming back down here returning to the local scene.
What’s the plan here going into the future? Obviously you are already in LFA. You got your pro debut win with LFA. Is the plan to stick with what your doing or do you plan on eventually branching out and going to one of the bigger camps?
I’m going to stick with what I’m doing, obviously. As long as they keep providing me higher and higher level opponents that’s all I can ask for. I know the time is going to come, sooner rather than later, so I am really just enjoying everything I can do right now. I do eventually plan to go to bigger events, but I am also all about taking the opportunities that are presented. As soon as an opportunity presents itself, I am going to take it. I am going to do what’s best for my career long term and go from there.
You mentioned being able to get that experience and then come back to the local scene and just how great that was for you. How difficult was it just being in the local scene? Obviously, your record and your fights speak for themselves. Also, your size. I mean even the pictures you have with Curtis Blaydes. You’re just a big guy. You make Curtis Blaydes look small. How difficult was it for you? With not only your size, but you’re coming back and people know you’re training with UFC caliber guys. I’m sure it was real difficult towards the end of your amateur career and early in your pro career to even get fights.
Ya. It still is very difficult. For this fight I had a guy that was an undefeated amateur and he had been saying he wanted to fight me for a while. For some reason or another he had to pull from the fight. I don’t really focus too much on it, but it does get frustrating. I do vent on social media from time to time. Trying to kinda bait people into fighting me because nobody wants to fight. A lot of guys say they want the fight. The matchmaker for LFA has openly stated whoever wants to fight me gets a contract. It’s in their hands now. I can’t control other people’s courage. I can’t force people to sack up. If you say your a fighter, you should fight. That’s how I see it. I take the opportunities that are presented. In my eyes I am already one of the top in the world. I don’t feel anybody outside of the top five in the UFC even stands a chance against me. I walk in with that confidence. I have the level of belief in myself everywhere I go and in everything that I do. That kind of intimidates a lot of people.
I’m sure it does. You mention venting on twitter a little bit. Everyone make sure to follow Juan on twitter @ChosenJuan285 on twitter and instagram as well. I want say I love your headline on twitter. I am going to read it here real quick, not to embarrass ya. “I guess I’ll be famous one day. avid fan of sci-fi/fantasy. I also do this MMA thing, some people say I’m alright at it. LFA Fighter, 1-0 pro heavy.” That is too that point and absolutely fantastic. Props to you on that one sir. I guess what I want to ask you off of that. You are 25 years old, right Juan?
25 years old. What have you been doing prior to this? You turned 18. Obviously when you can technically start pro fighting or even in most states an amateur career. What have you been doing for the last seven years before you even started the MMA stuff.
I wrestled collegiately. I was on a wrestling scholarship at Virginia Military Institute. It was Division 1. I did that for five years. I got injured one year so they allowed me come back for a fifth year. I put off graduating to do that. Once I graduated, once my last season was done in college, I was actually contacted by an NFL team about a tryout. I was doing all the training. I got real big and real strong. I had gotten up to like 325. They wanted me to wait a whole other year to get into it and I was done with it at that point. I had wanted to fight for a while. I had been coaching a lot of pro fighters with their wrestling for a while. Back when Mike Bronzoulis, Angel Huerta, and guys like that were at Paradigm I was always helping those guys with their wrestling. The bug was already kind of planted there and once that NFL tryout wanted to postpone it another year I decided to try my hand at MMA. Nine months late I had my first amateur fight and never looked back from there.
It’s been just over a year now since you had your first amateur fight. You are going on your second pro fight now. Like we said all fights being finishes. Knockout or TKO. When you started getting into MMA a little more. Obviously the connection is there. You had worked on the coaching end of it for a while, but once you got into it yourself. Did you just think to yourself, “this is too perfect” and everything just fell into place?
Ya. That is exactly what happened. It was kind of just a whirlwind. I thought after that first fight I was going to have to wait three or four months again, but they offered me another one. It was just six weeks later. I just kind of just kept accepting fights. The two longest breaks I’ve had were good. They were each about four months. Which was perfect to just kinda go back to the drawing board. Redo my strength and conditioning. Ya know, set everything back up again. Recharge a little bit. That’s been perfect for me. I love the schedule I’m on. I’m looking to be very active again this coming year.
You want to be active. Obviously, your next fight is definitely the most experienced guy you have ever fought. Someone who has fought some very tough opponents. Brice Rittani-Coe. He fought his last two fights both against UFC guys. Justin Ledet and Cody East. You mention having problems getting people to fight you. You have an opponent in Brice with a good amount of experience. What are your thoughts on him?
I have seen his fights. Any experienced guy you have to respect his ability, but again I just feel that were in a completely different class of athlete and a completely different class of fighter. I see this fight ending wherever I want it to. If I am ever put in danger we all know I can put him on the ground and I will end the fight there. I’m not overly concerned about him. We respectively prepare for the task at hand, but all my training isn’t set up to beat the Brice Rittani-Coe’s of the world. I am training to beat the top of the top and that’s how I see it. Everything else is just a road block. I’m going to move through it. I am going to go past it and there is nothing that they can do about that. It’s just were working with completely different skill sets. Different starting points, ya know. I am just at such a higher level that it’s not really a competition.
You win this fight. What’s the gameplan going into 2018? Odds are with you fighting in the beginning of November you wont fight again before the end of the year. 2018, how many fights are you looking at?
I want at least four fights in 2018. I have two more fights on my contract with LFA. If they see fit to give me more, I will take them. I am going to take the best opponent presented to me at each time and what makes the most sense for my career at each given point.
I have to ask. You mentioned kinda using twitter to try and pick some fights with people, right? The headline, the main event of this card that you are on is Richard Odoms against Jeff Hughes for the LFA title. Back in September you said, “Guarantee my fight will be better then the main event
#krakenGonnaCrackEm” Is that you just kinda planting the seed there? That’s who you will be aiming for here early in 2018?
Again, I’ll beat both of those guys, ya know they aren’t even on my radar. I said my fight is going to be more entertaining because I am a more entertaining fighter than both of those guys. You look at our records, ya know, they both gas out and are both out of shape. What’s his name? Jeff Hughes. I call him “Little Jeff” because he’s small. He actually called me out on Facebook at some point. I’m like, dude, you are 7-1 calling out a 1-0 pro. I’ll take the fight, but I’m not worried about you. That’s kinda how I see it. Guys like that. The way I view it. If you are 7-1 and your not being scouted by the UFC then clearly they have seen ya and they aren’t impressed with you. That’s all there is to it. I think I just offer a lot more than either of those guys. Odoms, much respect to the guy, but he is 43 years old so I am not super worried about that. I am going to just keep doing my thing. Focusing on me. Again, on that same token, I am not into calling people out specifically. I prefer to just kinda put it out there and if they want to fight me they can come get it. I’m not worried about anyone either. The call out culture has kinda gotten big. Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey and guys like that made it famous. My stance on that is if you’re still a local fighter then stop trying to make a name for yourself by just talking and just fight.
I want to know and this isn’t for call out purposes. You are obviously mentally strong and you obviously feel like you are on another level right now. Outside of the top 5 heavyweight in the UFC. Who in your mind right now, regardless of organization, who in your mind would be a good opponent for you? A good match-up. This is someone who would be on my level and this is someone who would be a good fight right now.
Honestly the only people who I think are on my level or stand a good chance are world class wrestlers or world class jiu jitsu guys. Most of the high level kick boxers I have seen, besides Overeem obviously, have horrible take down defense. The defense they have had have been against wrestlers worse than me. That’s the only people. When I say that skill set it brings guys to mind like Werdum, Overeem, Cain Valazquez, guys like that. I think a stylistic match-up but again, those guys are a lot older than me. I don’t know if they could keep up.
Well it will definitely be interesting to see what 2018 brings for you. Before that we already know your opinion and I could probably guess what you are going to say. How does the fight end at LFA 26 on November 3rd against Brice?
I think if I am feeling generous and I don’t want to hurt him I will end things in the second round. Ya know, a lot of people are upset with me because they spend all this money on tickets and my fight lasts like two minutes. I am going to work my hands. See where I am at there. If I don’t like where it’s going I will take him down in the second round and end it.
We definitely look forward to seeing that fight. Again, Juan Adam fighting Brice Rittani-Coe at LFA 26 coming up on November 3rd in Houston, TX at the Arena Theatre. Juan we really appreciate the time. We definitely look forward to the fight. Before we let you go are there any sponsors, teammates, coaches, friends, or family that you want to thank?
Ya.My big sponsors Jet Hot coating. Sammy’s Sports Grill, my strength conditioning coach Ryan Kasey Baker. I give him a lot of shout outs on my Instagram so follow me on there and you’ll find him. Of course my gyms. Paradigm Training Center, my home gym. The Fight Lab, they took me in and help me whenever I need it. That’s awesome. Big shout out to Victor Pozas over at Darkside. Been a big fan and a big friend of mine from day one and just giving him a shout out.
Well I am sure that is very much appreciated. Everyone make sure to go follow Juan on all of his social media. Instagram and Twitter @ChosenJuan285 Pretty funny tweets I must say, so make sure to give him a follow. A very interesting follow indeed. Juan we really appreciate the time. We look forward to the fight and we look forward to talking with you early in 2018.
No problem man. Thank you.