Arjan Singh Bhullar will attempt to add another piece of championship hardware to his lengthy list of achievements when he locks horns with reigning heavyweight ruler Brandon Vera at One Championship “Dangal” at Singapore Indoor Stadium on Saturday.
The four-time Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran enters the matchup on a three-bout winning streak, which includes a decision triumph over Mauro Cerilli in his promotional debut in October 2019. The former Battlefield Fight League heavyweight title holder is 10-1 over the course of a professional career that began in 2014.
Ahead of Bhullar’s attempt to claim One Championship gold, here are five things you might not know about him:
He Has Ties to Both North America and AsiaBhullar’s parents are from India, but he was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Though the move was designed to provide a better life for the family, it wasn’t always easy growing up for Bhullar. “Yes, my family faced racism after moving to Canada. It was a different time. Back then, racism was out in the open — physical, verbal and emotional,” Bhullar said in an interview on the One Championship website. “It was common to have to travel in packs because of a risk of physical altercation. That stuff was all normal.”
Wrestling is the Foundation of His SuccessBhullar attended Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, where he wrestled at 285 pounds and was a two-time NAIA national champion. After that, he represented Canada as a freestyle wrestler in numerous international competitions including the 2012 London Olympics, where he finished 13th. He also won a gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a bronze medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.
His UFC Debut Was GroundbreakingBhullar became the first fighter of South Asian descent to compete in the Octagon when he squared off against Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira at UFC 215 on Sept. 9, 2017. He won that fight via unanimous decision and went on to post a 3-1 mark — with additional triumphs over Marcelo Golm and Juan Adams — within the Las Vegas-based promotion before moving on to One Championship.
He Engages in Philanthropic EndeavorsBhullar helped build a community center for women in his ancestral village of Punjab, India, where they could gather and socialize. Named for his grandmother, Bibi Gurmit Kaur Bhullar, the center doubled as a mask-making facility during the COVID-19 pandemic. “The idea of creating a place for women to socialize and learn to sew was brought forward by my Thia last year,” Bhullar wrote on his Instagram account in April 2020. “Who would have thought the machines would be used to literally save lives soon after?”
Signing with One Was a Forward-Thinking MoveAs already mentioned, Bhullar concluded his first UFC contract with a 3-1 record. Normally, someone of Bhullar’s background and talent would have been quickly re-signed to another four-fight deal by the Las Vegas-based promotion. However, One Championship’s Asian imprint was very appealing to someone with Indian heritage. "One of my biggest factors to come over (to One Championship) was how much the company valued me for their plans for Indian and the global Indian market," Bhullar told sportskeeda in a 2020 interview.
« Previous By the Numbers: Brandon Vera vs. Arjan Singh Bhullar Next By the Numbers: One Championship ‘Dangal’ Pre-Fight Edition »