Woke up early yesterday to watch Arjan Singh Bhullar make his UFC debut. Indo-Canadian Bhullar is the first fighter of Indian origin to ever step into the octagon and showcase his skills under the bright lights. The guy is a former Olympic wrestler and is no slouch on the ground, but this fight showed that he can box too. He went to work against Brazilian Luis Henrique, and got the Win by Unanimous Decision. 31 year old Bhullar is talented, shows good striking discipline and head movement, but does have some work to do. After a close 1st round, and a great 2nd, he dropped the 3rd to Henrique and while he was never in danger of being finished, the fight did show some holes in his game.
He trains with current UFC light heavyweight champ (?) Daniel Cormier – also a former Olympian wrestler. who has successfully crossed over to MMA, used his strong wrestling as a base and made it to the very top of the game. One has to imagine that that’s the blueprint Bhullar is trying to read as well. The post-fight interviews showed a very articulate and confident fighter talking to the press – extremely aware of the opportunity he is faced with. India is the WWE’s largest international market, and the UFC has been weaning casual fans off fake fights in coloured spandex slowly but steadily. If Bhullar can make a name for himself and get a few big wins under his belt, he has the potential to become a huge draw and start pulling in audiences from a massive untapped market.
Here’s hoping he polishes his game some more, plays his cards right and seizes the opportunity by the horns. We’ve got a fighter in the UFC, India. A heavyweight no less!