When it was time for Arjan “Singh” Bhullar to find a new home for his mixed martial arts career, he could not have imagined a better fit than joining the roster at ONE Championship.
Top Indian ???????? heavyweight Arjan Singh Bhullar handles Mauro Cerilli in his ONE debut, winning by unanimous decision!????: Check local listings for global broadcast details????: Watch on the ONE Super App ???? http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp????: Shop Official Merchandise ???? http://bit.ly/ONECShop
Posted by ONE Championship on Sunday, October 13, 2019
The heavyweight inked a deal with the promotion back in July, and he anxiously awaited the opportunity to prove himself on the global stage.
Even before making his debut, Bhullar felt comfortable after seeing how the world’s largest martial arts organization treats its athletes and, simultaneously, how the promotion wants the athletes to represent the company as well.
“ONE treats everybody better from top to bottom,” the Canadian-Indian explains.
“I’ve seen it. I’ve talked to folks, from champions all the way down to fighters making their debuts, and they’re all saying the same thing — they love it here.
“For me, individually, I have something to offer in return with going to India and being a part of that. For me, who I am, what I want to represent, and the stories I want to tell, ONE Championship [is the right fit], and I’m excited to be a part of the organization.”
Bhullar, a Commonwealth Games wrestling gold medalist, made an immediate impact in his promotional debut at ONE: CENTURY PART II last October.
The 33-year-old went toe-to-toe with former ONE Heavyweight World Title challenger Mauro “The Hammer” Cerilli and out-struck him over the course of three rounds to pick up the unanimous decision victory.
While he is best known for his tremendous grappling, “Singh” showcased different facets of his game — most notably, his boxing — and that lifted him past the Italian heavyweight in the Japanese capital.
“I don’t want to be a one-dimensional athlete just relying on one skill. I want to be a complete mixed martial artist. It was about getting an opportunity to apply all my new skills,” he says.
“This was the perfect opponent. He took the path of least resistance. He was expecting the wrestling and I went with the striking, so you take that and you win.”
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After the contest, Bhullar immediately started campaigning for a shot at the ONE Heavyweight World Championship, which is currently held by long-reigning titleholder Brandon “The Truth” Vera.
The Indian is not certain whether the Filipino superstar will be his next challenge when he returns to action in 2020, but if that does indeed happen, he promises to be ready.
“I have a lot of respect for Brandon Vera as a fighter and as the champion,” Bhullar says.
“He’s been the champion over at ONE in the heavyweight division forever, and he’s done a great job for himself, for his family, for the fans, for the Philippines, and for the Filipino people. That’s everything I want to do in my career.
“Brandon is tough, and it’s not going to be an easy fight. I’m going to have to walk through fire, but I feel like I have what it takes to beat him and become the champion.”
That is only part of his masterplan, however.
The wrestling sensation is motivated to capture the gold, bring it back to his ancestral homeland, and elevate the nation’s mixed martial arts scene to a higher plateau.
Also, he is eager to see the world’s largest martial arts organization hold its inaugural event in the South Asian country.
“By the end of next year, I want to have that title around my waist and I want to take it to India,” he states.
“That is the goal for 2020. That is what’s going to blow up the sport in India, and it will help me accomplish so many things that I’ve wanted to do as an athlete and outside of the sport.”
For all the individual success he hopes to achieve in 2020, “Singh” also wants to continue inspiring the Indian people, who have chosen him as one of their martial arts heroes.
“I have to represent my family, myself, and our community with pride wherever I go,” Bhullar continues.
“That is what made me come under the ONE banner and made it so natural for me because that’s what I’m about. That’s what I do and that’s how I live.”