In a country like ours, where cricket is religion and most combat sports only flourish in underground fight clubs, here is news that is set to make the entire nation proud. Canadian National Arjan Singh Bhullar will become the first fighter of Indian descent to be signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the world’s most prestigious mixed martial arts organization based out of Los Angeles. Bhullar of Sikh Origin will be the first of Indian origin to step inside the Octagon.
The 31-year-old former Olympian from Richmond, British Colombia comes from a lineage of fighters. Bhullar’s great grandfather immigrated to Canada in 1904 and even after living in a foreign land for so many years, the family never lost touch with their roots in pehelwani (wrestling) in Punjab. The Bhullar family farm in Richmond maintains a wrestling akhara where Bhullar learned his first wrestling skills. He wrested for Canada in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and went on to become the first Canadian of Indian origin to compete at the Olympics at the 2012 London Games, losing to eventual bronze medalist Komeil Ghasemi. After his stint at the Olympics he turned to Mixed Martial Arts. Bhullar told UFC “Transferring over to MMA, I did it for a reason. This isn’t because I didn’t have any other options. This is a conscious choice I made to get under the lights in front of as many eyeballs as possible, so I’m excited for that,” reported ESPN.
The 6 feet, 113 kilo fighter’s first MMA tournament was back in 2014, thereafter which he won his next five fights. He currently hold a 6-0 (3KO) record. Known for his superior grappling skills, he has been an iconic player in Canada’s mixed martial arts circuit.Talking about preparing for the UFC 215, Bhullar told Sportskeeda, “For me, it’s like any other fight. At the end of the day, I’m going into the cage with another human being, and we’re having a fight. I’ve done that several times now. I do that daily in training. So all that is the same; there might be more people yelling in the stands, there might be more people watching on TV. But I don’t pay attention to that anyway. And actually, to be honest, I crave that. I wanted a big platform, and the bigger it is, the better I perform. So I look forward to that.”
Having achieved such a great feat, Bhullar understands that apart from creating history, he will be the impetus to strengthen the mixed martial arts scene in India and eventually bring the UFC to India. In an interview with Sportskeeda Bhullar said “When you are headed into battle and need the job done right, you call a Sikh....and they called the right one. I will proudly represent the Maple Leaf and be the ambassador for over 1.7 billion South Asians. I fully appreciate the significance of this moment, and understand the seriousness of the task at hand. Indian fans, they are my motivation. We are over one billion strong, and that is my hashtag, that is what we carry wherever we go. People will know what Indians can do worldwide.”
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