UFC Heavyweight Arjan Bhullar: “We’re Working For The Top, And I’m Excited To Get There And Claim My Strap”

"It’s important any time you can break a barrier. I never had those Indian athletes to look up to growing up.”

It’s often difficult in any profession or sport to stand out above the rest of the pack, whether that be due to an overload of talent or simply bad timing. That statement, in many ways, is especially true when you adapt it to the world of mixed martial arts.

Thankfully in this game there often comes a time when a whole host of new superstars come along at once, and as of late, the most notable name to enter the discussion at heavyweight has been Arjan Bhullar.

“I want to be recognized for my skills first and foremost, but equally as is important is that background. It may not seem like a big deal to a lot of people, but to some kid who is watching, when a guy looks very similar to him and comes from the same culture, it allows them to connect like no other athlete. It’s important any time you can break a barrier. I never had those Indian athletes to look up to growing up.”

You may be familiar with the 31-year-old’s story after he made a big splash back at UFC 215 in September, and we aren’t just talking about his prelims victory over Luis Henrique.

Bhullar is the first fighter of Indian Sikh descent to compete inside the Octagon, and it quickly became clear to everyone that we have a potential star on our hands. From his wrestling style to his demeanor when speaking to the media, Arjan had a lot of qualities that led some to compare his work to UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

“The wrestling has always dominated in the heavyweight division. You’ve got Stipe now, you had Cain before that, before that you had Randy Couture and Mark Coleman. These guys last, so I’m good in regards to that. My striking is phenomenal now and I feel very comfortable, and I think you could tell in my last fight. We’re working for the top, and I’m excited to get there and claim my strap.”

But Bhullar’s story goes back further than that, as we found out when we spoke to him about his days at the Commonwealth & Olympic Games. You can tell that he’s a smart guy who has a plan laid out for his UFC career, and as the man himself will tell you, that’s not all he likes to keep himself occupied with.

From muscle cars to brushing up on his history Arjan is a complex fighter with many options available to him once he hangs up his gloves, but for now, his focus will turn to April 14th when he takes on Polish sensation, Adam Wieczorek.

“I was pretty bummed out at first [not competing at UFC London], London felt right for so many reasons. Competing there in the Olympics was a phenomenal experience, but I didn’t leave that time with my arm raised on top of the podium, so I wanted another crack at that as a competitor. I also would’ve had tremendous support, it would’ve felt like a hometown fight.”

Wieczorek currently holds a 9-1 record with his only defeat coming to fellow UFC heavyweight Marcin Tybura back in 2011, and if his last fight is anything to go by, then he’s something of a perfectionist.

The Polish powerhouse clearly wasn’t happy with his last performance despite a victory against Anthony Hamilton, and now, he faces an even bigger challenge in the form of Arjan Bhullar.

“I’m booked for April 14th which is a very significant date for Indians and Sikhs around the world. That is the birth of our religion, and it will be celebrated worldwide. I’m feeling great that I’m able to represent my people on that day in the cage, and having them all tune in to support me.”

The Indian superstar will undoubtedly be looking to make an impact with the first finish of his UFC tenure, but about all else, the thing that matters most to him is continuing to be a trailblazer in this sport for fans of his from around the globe.

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