With just five pro bouts to his name heading into his latest fight and matched up with a fellow promising heavyweight prospect, there was reason to believe that the Greg Hardy hype train was about to come to a halting crash.
But that wasn’t to be as Hardy made short work of Juan Adams on Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 4 in San Antonio, Texas, scoring a TKO victory in 45 seconds against “The Kraken.” A former NFL standout who made his pro MMA debut in June of last year, Hardy was pleased with himself following the performance and he had a succinct message for his doubters.
“I feel like saying, ‘I told you so,’” Hardy said in a backstage media scrum (h/t MMA Junkie). “I said it was going to happen, it did happen. I’m pretty sure he went to the hospital, so boom.”
Talking about the brief contest, Hardy spoke about how proud he was of his own wrestling development, which was evident as he stuffed a takedown from Adams and from there, landed short punches on his opponent until the fight was stopped.
Hardy doesn’t think there was anything controversial about referee Dan Miragliotta’s call, despite a protest from Adams.
“He was a good opponent, he hit me a couple of times,” Hardy said. “I don’t doubt he’s not a great guy, I don’t know that personally, but you’re down there and you get hit 30-some-odd times, and the ref I think he said three times, ‘Defend yourself Juan, you gotta do something.’
“I kind of felt his body go limp. I was banging on his head so I kind of slowed the pace down to see if he was going to react or do something so I could play some defense and then when he didn’t, I just went in for the finish after I heard him say two or three times, ‘Defend yourself’ and he didn’t. Dan gave him plenty of warnings.”
Adams had a lot to say about Hardy in the lead-up to the fight, bringing up Hardy’s past domestic violence case and vowing that he would “expose” Hardy in the cage. That fiery attitude didn’t appear to translate to Adams’s performance, which wasn’t all that surprising to Hardy who has had to learn to control himself after an embarrassing disqualification loss in his UFC debut against Allen Crowder.
“That’s something that I put behind me after the Allen Crowder fight,” Hardy said. “Emotion has nothing to do with this. It’s lions and sheep, I do not concern myself with their opinions, their thoughts, how they feel. It means nothing to me. All they are is food.”
Other than a bloody nose and his eye getting “lumped up,” Hardy was uninjured and he expressed interest in fighting again as soon as possible. Given that four of his five wins have ended in under a minute, the 30-year-old presents a unique matchmaking challenge for the UFC who will have to balance developing him as a contender with capitalizing on the name value he is bringing to the sport.
Hardy isn’t calling for any particular opponent or opponent, though he isn’t shying away from whatever the UFC has in store for him next.
“The same as last time,” Hardy said of what his plans are following his latest win. “I’m gonna go back, I’m gonna train, I have an objective in mind and it’s being a student and also being in camp.
“Juan was the guy y’all wanted to see. Everybody said I was ducking opponents. You guys were super hyped about Juan Adams, this is the one that’s gonna take me down, and I finished him. So whoever they put in front of me again will get the same treatment, no matter who it is. Ranked, non-ranked, No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, I’m here for it. I haven’t backed down yet.”