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AKA’s Arjan Bhullar is ready to show that he’s ‘championship caliber’ at UFC Moncton

UFC heavyweight Arjan Bhullar opens up about the first loss of his MMA career and how he used it to prepare for his UFC Moncton fight with Marcelo Golm.

UFC 215: Nunes v Shevchenko 2 Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Arjan Singh Bhullar experienced his first ever MMA loss at UFC on FOX 29 in April. The defeat came at the hands of Adam Wieczorek, who submitted Bhullar via omoplata, in the second round.

Bhullar, a Canadian National and Commonwealth wrestling champion, who has competed at the Olympics and Pan American Games, told Bloody Elbow he already knew what it’s like to lose. And because of that, he knows how to use it to his advantage.

“As an athlete, there’s wins and losses,” he said. “That’s a part of our journey. It’s been a part of my life. And I have a process, when that happens, that I go through. There’s always something to be learned [from losing] so it doesn’t repeat. I came back, digested that aspect of it, digested my new reality of that ‘0’ no longer being there and then I threw it away.

“You have to take away what you have to, from that loss, and then you throw it away and become a better person, a better fighter, and focus on the next task at hand, which — for me — is Marcelo Golm on October 27th.”

Adding extra sting to his first loss in MMA was the fact the fight happened on April 14th, an incredibly significant day for Bhullar and other Sikhs. When Bhullar fought Wieczorek, Sikhs around the world were celebrating Vaisakhi; a holiday that commemorates the formation of the Khalsa, a warrior code developed by Sikh spiritual leader Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

“I can choose to go in there and fight and leave town and leave it at that, or I can choose to make every fight special and every fight unique and celebrate it,” said Bhullar. “So with that fight being on April 14th, that was huge. It would have been crazy to overlook the significance of that date and what it meant to me and my people. So that was fun, tying all that in, but at the same time it doesn’t matter. None of that stuff matters unless you win and that’s why I was so upset.”

Bhullar revealed that he and his team had hoped to get a fight right after his loss to Wieczorek. His American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) teammate Daniel Cormier even messaged the UFC on his behalf to try and bring about that quick turnaround.

“The best way to make it right was to win again and get back on track,” said Bhullar. “So that’s what the idea was, but unfortunately the cards were full and they weren’t able to make it happen immediately. But we’re at that point now; to make that right and show how much I’ve grown and the fighter I am today.”

Golm (6-1), who represents Bhullar’s chance to ‘make it right’, last fought at UFC Fight Night 125 in February. There he dropped a decision to Tim Johnson. The Brazilian meets Bhullar at UFC Fight Night: Oezdemir vs. Smith, which is being held in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Bhullar said he knows a lot about Golm. They were scheduled to fight at a Hard Knocks event in Calgary in 2016. However, Golm pulled out, according to Bhullar. The Indian-Canadian said his path almost crossed with Golm again in 2017.

It’s then that Golm apparently reached out to AKA head coach Javier Mendez, to see if he could join his team. Bhullar said that didn’t happen after Mendez reached out to fighters to see how they felt about adding another UFC heavyweight to the gym.

“Marcelo has his skill set and if you ask me, I’ll tell you my life skills supersedes his,” said Bhullar about his next opponent. “What this truly comes down to are the intangibles. I’ve been on the world stage before. I’ve competed against world class athletes. Trained with world class athletes for years and years. That is all new to him.”

“He doesn’t know what it’s like to be uncomfortable,” continued Bhullar. “He doesn’t know what it’s like to be the nail rather than the hammer. And that’s what I’m going to make him do come October 27th. This fight, the way I’m approaching it — I am a champion. I’m championship caliber and he’s not that. I’m going to show the difference between us.”

Bhullar said part of what makes him a championship caliber fighter is the training he gets at AKA alongside UFC champions. He spent part of his training camp for Golm alongside UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. His previous time at AKA was during light Cormier’s camp for Stipe Miocic, who he beat for the heavyweight title.

“It’s cool to be part of a great team like that, being in a training environment with that caliber of a fighter, it really gets you on track for what you’re aspiring to become and what your performance is going to be when it’s your time to compete. So I plan to showcase that, continuing on the tradition of excellence at AKA, especially with the heavyweights.”

Arjan Singh Bhullar fights Marcelo Golm on the UFC Fight Pass Prelims for UFC Fight Night: Oezdemir vs. Smith. That portion of the card begins at 6:30PM ET on Saturday, October 27th.