ONE HEAVYWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION Arjan Singh Bhullar is itching to step into the cage with the interim champion Anatoly Malykhin.
The undefeated Russian knockout artist has been taking aim at Arjan throughout the lead-up to his interim title bout with Kirill Grishenko. Anatoly (11-0) was dominant throughout the fight, taking his opponent down in the first round and doing damage through ground-and-pound, before landing a vicious right hand in the second round that knocked out Grishenko.
After being crowned the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion, Malykhin called out the undisputed champ Arjan in the post fight interview saying,
"Arjan Bhullar, my baby chicken... no fight, no heart... come, come, fight."
He was referring to Arjan Singh Bhullar (11-1) not having fought since May 2021, due to an ongoing contract negotiation with ONE Championship. It was his unavailability that caused ONE CEO Chatri Sityodtong to create an interim title.
Arjan, who is currently in Vancouver, spoke to TFG exclusively about his next opponent,
"I didn't see his callout, but he's been calling me out for a little while here. (Laughs) We're sorted. We've got our contract sorted with ONE. It was a contract issue, it's not an Anatoly issue."
When asked about Malykhin's impressive unbeaten MMA record of winning 11 fights in a row by stoppage, Arjan responded,
"He's a good athlete... he's an athlete. He's not as skilled as me. I see many holes in him. Of course he has his strengths but we will neutralize and overcome and get through him. I have many more weapons. I see many more holes. And I'm excited to compete against him."
The Commonwealth Games gold medalist wrestler is known for his pressure-heavy game in MMA. 7 out of his 11 wins have gone to the distance, making his fighting style a perfect contrast for Anatoly's striking-heavy game. However, he has added a considerable amount of striking to his arsenal, beating Mauro Cerilli on the feet and knocking out Brandon Vera via ground and pound to claim the undisputed belt, making him a lot more versatile threat in the cage. Arjan seemed to be aware of the possiblities that created for him as he spoke further,
"I can't wait to shut him up and get in there and compete with him. I don't know why he thinks he's a tough guy. I guess his coach Johny's got him all believing in something that he isn't. He's never been in there with someone like me. That's a fact. But if he called me out again, great. That is the next fight. We've got our contract sorted out and I'm excited to get in there and beat this guy."
He paused, and added one more reason to why he was relishing the prospect of fighting Anatoly,
"You know, it's always special when you beat a Russian. It always means a little more to me. I had that in wrestling. I have that in MMA. Because it means something to them. It means a little bit more to them. And to take that from them makes me happy."
The first Indian-origin fighter ever have won a major world championship in MMA, Arjan revealed that he had already discussed possible dates for his return to the cage with ONE Championship top brass,
"The company had a couple of dates in mind, even heading into this fight. We agreed to do it. So it was all about how does the fight go, does he take damage, does he not, does he agree to it. We're sorted on our end, we've given our answer already even heading into this fight. Contract sorted, given our answer, whoever it was gonna be we were ready to go. So it's him, let's go. Doesn't matter."