The pioneer of Indian MMA, Arjan Singh Bhullar (7-0-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) is set to face Polish heavyweight prospect Adam Wieczorek on UFC on FOX 29 card in Glendale, Arizona.
2017 was nothing but spectacular for Bhullar as he debuted in the UFC, represented two nations, registered a victory on his debut and most importantly, became a father. Bhullar fought young Brazilian Luis Henrique at UFC 215 in September at Edmonton, Canada. Bhullar became to the fighter to represent the country of India. He also became the first Sikh fighter to ever fight in the UFC. Henrique dominated the first two rounds to win the fight via unanimous decision. (via Twitter):
Undefeated heavyweight and former Olympian @TheOneASB (7-0) speaks about representing his Sikh heritage by becoming the first @UFC athlete to enter the Octagon wearing a turban at #UFCGlendale. #UFCFIGHTPASS pic.twitter.com/fZkzrOW8bw
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) April 13, 2018
Bhullar on carrying the expectations of the entire nation on his shoulders said,
“It was phenomenal. Being the first for anything is always special and all those fans out there now have somebody they can rally behind. They’re so hungry to get an event out that way. The WWE gets out there, but it’s not the same thing. You have some crossover fans, but the hardcore MMA fans are like, ‘Now there’s hope that they’ll come out this way.’ There’s a lot of love and support and it’s great to see.”
Bhullar’s bout vs Wieczorek will be even more special as Bhullar got the permission to enter the Octagon wearing a traditional Sikh Turban on account of Vaisakhi festival.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “And it’s pretty cool that I’m gonna be able to do that and do it on an Indian holiday that’s going to be celebrated worldwide. It’s almost like a storybook kind of story.”
Bhullar while explaining the special meaning behind the turban said,
“It’s something a champion athlete wears, where they have it hanging off one shoulder. It’s going to be exciting.I’ve been raised where I know my story as a family, as a community here, and the struggles that we’ve had to get established. For me to be in the place I’m at, many people have sacrificed and it is important for me to honor that sacrifice and this is how I do it. And it’s my identity. My mom would hit me upside the head and say, ‘Don’t ever forget where you come from.’ (Laughs) I’ve always been raised as such, and when you become something, you make sure you give back. Because if you can’t help your own, who else are you going to rely on? It starts with us and I’m excited to be able to do that.”
On his mindset Bhullar said,
“I do a lot of mental training and I put myself in that position hundreds of times before I actually step in there. And I’m very grateful. It’s tough to have jitters if you’re grateful. You can’t have both of those emotions at the same time. And nerves will never take me over because this is a choice for me. I don’t have to do this, I choose to do it, and I choose to have fun when I do it.”
On his future plans Bhullar said,
“I’m always chasing gold, You might get more eyeballs and more attention as the career progresses, and that’s great, but I have people close to me that keep it real with me, and I’m pretty level headed. I focus on what’s most important. None of the other stuff matters unless you win and I know that.”