There is a serious new heavyweight contender in ONE Championship, and his name is Arjan Bhullar. He makes his promotional debut at ONE: DAWN OF HEROES on 2 August at the Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, the Philippines against former title challenger Mauro Cerilli.
Here are five things you should know about the fast-rising powerhouse.
He’s From India
Bhullar, whose moniker is “India’s Greatest Heavyweight,” was born in Canada but is of Punjabi Sikh descent. He often carries his country’s flag with him when he enters the ring.
Age and Experience
Bhullar is just 33 years old, which is still very young by heavyweight standards. His mixed martial arts career is also relatively young. Bhullar has compiled a professional record of 9-1 since turning pro in 2014. Before he became a professional mixed martial artist, Bhullar was a top-level amateur wrestler.
He was a multiple-time provincial and Canadian national wrestling champion. Bhullar graduated from Simon Fraser University and competed in the NAIA and CIS. In 2006, he won a bronze medal at the World University Games. Throughout his collegiate career, Bhullar became a two-time NAIA champion and was named the most outstanding wrestler at the 2009 NAIA Championships. In 2009, he became the first athlete to win a championship in both the CIS and NAIA in the same competition year.
He was named the Canadian Wrestler of the Year in 2009 before taking his wrestling talents internationally in 2010.
Bhullar won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, which were hosted by India. He then represented Canada at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. His wrestling skills make him so tough to handle for many heavyweights.
He is Good Friends With WWE’s Jindermahal
Bhullar earned his stripes as an amateur wrestler, but he also has some ties to the world of professional wrestling. He and former WWE Champion Jindermahal are friends, and Bhullar has even discussed participating in WWE matches in the future. He wouldn’t be the first athlete with a collegiate wrestling background to crossover into the WWE. Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Kurt Angle, and many others have made the jump.
He Doesn’t Like Disrespect
Bhullar is a peaceful man but doesn’t like to be disrespected, especially when someone is attempting to demean his wrestling background or the art form in general. Bhullar’s most recent opponent Juan Adams made that mistake with some pre-fight trash talk. Bhullar made it a point to make him pay. His dominant wrestling was the key to his unanimous-decision victory.
He Has Trained With and Been Compared to Daniel Cormier
Despite having an already formidable wrestling game, Bhullar has spent time at the American Kickboxing Academy training with a world champion, former Olympic wrestler and all-time great Daniel Cormier. The two men have the same approach to mixed martial arts, which is why people have compared Bhullar to the American. Bhullar’s debut and career with ONE could be one of the biggest stories in the heavyweight division for years to come.