Arjan Singh Bhullar (right, with fellow Richmond athlete Bobby Singh) became the ONE Heavyweight World Champion on May 15.
Photo by Don Fennell
Bhullar ascends to world MMA championship
By Don Fennell
Published 12:04 PDT, Fri May 21, 2021
Last Updated: 11:40 PDT, Wed June 9, 2021
Unlike the character with the similar sounding name in a 1980s cult film, there are no “days off” for Arjan Singh Bhullar.
Born the same year—1986—that Ferris Bueller’s Day Off debuted on the big screen, the dedicated Richmond fighter has endured a steady stream of blood, sweat and tears on his ascent to the mixed martial arts ONE Heavyweight World Championship. He was awarded the title May 15, two days after his 35th birthday, reaching the apex of his training with a second-round technical knockout (TKO) of Brandon Vera in Kallang, Singapore. The fight was originally set to take place last May but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m humbled by the love and support from the world,” Bhullar tweeted. “As my inner circle knows this camp we were tested more than in any other, yet the faith and belief held firm. When something is meant to be nobody and nothing can stop it from happening. I love you all. God has been great.”
In 12 career fights as a mixed martial artist, Bhullar now sports a record of 11 wins and just a single loss—a submission to Adam Wierczorek in his eight career fight in the UFC on April 14, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. He made his MMA debut with a TKO win over Adam Santos in Coquitlam on Nov. 7, 2014. He joined the Asia-based ONE Championship promotion in the summer of 2019.
Bhullar grew up in a family of traditional grapplers. His dad was an accomplished wrestler and passed the gene and love of the sport onto Arjan, who through dedication and talent, soon began an extensive collection of honours himself. From high school champion at Hugh McRoberts secondary to collegiate champion at Simon Fraser University, in 2009 Bhullar realized a rare feat when he became the first wrestler to win the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and Canadian Interuniversity Sport titles in the same year.
In 2010, Bhullar’s exhaustive training resulted in his winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India, and two years later he represented Canada at the Olympic Games in London, England.
Renowned for his sportsmanship and his thoughtfulness, Bhullar was also quick to thank his family, tweeting: “Thank you to my family, without you there’s no way or reason I do this.”