Arjan Bhullar Guarantees He’ll Finish Brandon Vera To Win The ONE Title
After earning a unanimous decision victory over Mauro The Hammer’ Cerilli at ONE: Century in late 2019, Arjan Bhullar has positioned himself as the title challenger in the ONE Championship heavyweight division. Initially, the bout against champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera was set for last month. However, COVID-19 restrictions forced the postponement of the event.
Despite the recent obstacles, the Canadian-Indian mixed martial artist seems determined on his quest for the title. Speaking to ONE Championship, the 34-year-old has been open about his intentions to become India’s first mixed martial arts world champion.
“If you want to be an ambassador of the company and an ambassador of the sport, you want to wear gold. You want to be the first world champion of a certain people (Indian)? You’ve got a responsibility, and I’m excited to take all of that on,” Bhullar said.
Brandon Vera will be a tough challenge for the contender. ‘The Truth’ won the ONE heavyweight title after a spectacular first-round knockout win over Paul Cheng. Since then, the UFC and WEC veteran has defended the belt on two occasions, earning two more first-round knockout victories against Hideki Sekine and Mauro Cerilli.
While Bhullar recognises the challenge ahead in Vera, he remains confident in his talent.
“Brandon has been the heavyweight champion for ONE for several years now,” Bhullar stated. “Every victory has come with a stoppage for him. He has a lot of different options. He’s dynamic, but I’m the future.
“He’s a great ambassador for the company, for the Philippines, and for the sport. But I am all of those and then some for India, Indians, and my people. It’s my time.”
Bhullar had begun preparations for his upcoming bout, under renowned coach Javier Mendez at AKA in San Jose, California.
“I was already down in California training at American Kickboxing Academy,” said the title challenger. “I was all set to go, and then this virus breaks out. I’m like, ‘You know what, I’ve got to get back to my family.’”
Despite being forced to a premature return to his home in Vancouver, Canada, ‘Singh’ is staying sharp with the title fight in mind.
“I have a fully functional gym in my house,” he said. “Whatever you need, I got it in-house. I’m staying in shape enough so that when this whole thing opens up, I’m not too far off from being able to get my work in and be ready for this fight.
“That’s the physical [aspect]. And then the mental has been great. Spending time with the family, there’s no boredom or loneliness or anything like that. Great social interaction. [My wife and I are] expecting our second child here very soon, and just enjoying that whole process while I’m here being in the present.”
Bhullar is committed to winning the ONE heavyweight title and understands the impact his achievements may have on future generations of Indian fighters.
“When I was thinking about making this transition [to ONE], it was on the top of my list,” Bhullar stated. “It was always the goal. That’s legacy. That’s history. That stays forever. And, also, that makes it easier for everyone else. [I want] to pave the way, and show how to do it and that it’s a viable option to make it easier for the next crop of athletes.
“I’m excited, and there’s a tremendous amount of potential within India and with Indians around the world. [India has] a long tradition of martial arts. That’s what I’m excited to really demonstrate beyond the physical chess match and the matchup with Brandon. This other stuff is greater than me. Any time you can do something greater than yourself, it’s worth it. That’s what really gets me up.”
Bhullar is certain that the title will be wrapped around his waist after his contest against Vera, and promises the fight will be nothing short of spectacular.
“I will do anything for that gold. It’s the reason I got into this sport. It’s the reason I signed with ONE. This will not go the distance. That is a guarantee, and that will be a guarantee, I bet you, on both ends. Tune in.”
How do you think Arjan Bhullar matches up against Brandon Vera?