Reggie Adams could almost feel the roar of thousands of MMA fans wash over him.
As part of his duties as a conversion worker at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., where he constructs and dismantles basketball floors and other platforms, he helped build the cage for Bellator 162 last year.
In the quiet of an empty arena, hours before the first hammer fist would be thrown, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to imagine what it would be like to fight on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“I actually got to walk in the cage and I said to myself, ‘I’m going to be on this stage or on the biggest platform one day,’” Adams said. “It is a big motivation to keep me going. It keeps me striving and hungry.”
Adams has taken another step toward making that dream come true. He has signed a three-fight deal with V3Fights. It has been a successful partnership, going back to his amateur days when he went 7-0 and won the lightweight and featherweight titles. It’s carried through his first two pro fights, both first-round victories.
“I love the way the organization and the show is run,” said Adams, who will fight at V3 65 (opponent TBA) at Minglewood Hall on Nov. 18. “As a fighter, they treat me right. They’ve never done me wrong. I see V3 on a different platform from the other organizations at this point. With what’s going on with Alliance MMA, they put them at the next level and I see them doing big things and I just want to be part of it.”
As much as Adams looks toward success in the future, his connection to the sport can be traced to his high school days. That’s when he became fast friends with Jaleel Willis, a fellow wrestler. Although they went to different schools, they would often train together.
Willis, the inaugural V3 welterweight pro champion, introduced him to the sport and brought him into Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu.
“It just felt like home,” Adams said. “It gave me the same feeling I had in high school. I actually traveled to a couple of other gyms, but I wasn’t really impressed. But once I got to Memphis Judo and Jiu Jitsu, it feels like home. I saw that I had room to grow and that I could become a better fighter.”
Adams’ high school wrestling experience – he was a state champion – came in handy in his first two pro fights. He used a guillotine choke to defeat Daniel Byrum in 48 seconds of the first round at V3 62 in September. Earlier this month, he defeated Greg Hussey via submission at 2:35 of the first round.
The man who was dubbed Spider Monkey in high school for his uncommon agility and strength says he didn’t set out to take those fights to the ground quickly.
“It turns out that’s just how they played out,” he said. “My coaches and my teammates prepared me for whatever. I’m ready to stand and bang. I’m ready to take it to the ground. For whatever reason, once we get in there and bang, my opponent just wants to go to the ground. The wrestling plays a big part – just the movement and the control. I’m able to pretty much take control of the situation.”