When undefeated UFC heavyweight Juan Adams steps into the Octagon this weekend at UFC Fight Night 151 in Ottawa, he’ll be facing by far the most decorated wrestler to this point in his career. In addition to being a former Olympic wrestler, Arjan Bhullar has won the Commonwealth Games, Pan-Ams and a slew of other national tournaments. However, Adams doesn’t fear that resume and what it brings because he thinks it’s largely inflated.
“He’s made it pretty far bluffing that Olympic wrestling background,” Adams told the Top Turtle MMA Podcast on FloCombat. “Just to clarify, he placed 13th out of 19 people at the Olympics. That’s not good by any stretch.”
Not only is Adams not impressed with Bhullar’s performance in the Olympics, he thinks the way he got there was a joke.
“On top of that, the way that he qualified is he qualified at the last possible [event] for that year. So he won Pan-Ams,” he said, offering his breakdown of Olympic qualifying. “In an Olympic year, what happens is there [are] multiple qualifying tournaments. So as the year goes on it gets easier and easier to qualify for the Olympics because the guys that have already won and already qualified are no longer competing in those tournaments—they’re practicing and in preparation.”
With Bhullar being one of the very last to qualify, Adams isn’t impressed at all. In fact, he thinks that a win against the B-team of opponents should barely count.
“By the time Pan-Ams rolled around, it was the last qualifying opportunity and he won that,” Adams said. “So he wasn’t going against the top in each other country.”
Adams wasn’t done dismissing Bhullar’s wrestling. He then took aim at Bhullar’s home country of Canada and their Olympic wrestling history.
“He’s an Olympian for the Canadian team,” Adams said. “I don’t know about you, but I can’t name the last Canadian Olympic champion [wrestler].”
Author’s note: Canada has three Olympic champions in wrestling: Erica Wiebe in 2016, Carol Huynh in 2008, and Daniel Igali in 2000.
So while fighters might be gearing up their takedown defense for an Olympic-caliber wrestler, it's business as usual for Adams as he prepares for the bout.
“I haven’t been doing anything different than what I usually do,” he said. “He’s [been] fighting guys that can’t wrestle. He’s not fighting other accomplished wrestlers. When he did go against someone who was an accomplished grappler, he got submitted.”
Adams will attempt to prove his claims have teeth this weekend when he and Bhullar face off on the preliminary card of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 151 card in Ottawa.