Indians have been phenomenally successful in the West at many things: business, the law, and medicine. Strong family values and respect for education has ensured that they can thrive in these areas in the UK, Canada and the USA.
Despite this success or perhaps because of it, the Indian male has never shown much potential for the more masculine pastimes of MMA or boxing, or in fact any sport (cricket does not qualify as a manly activity). Indeed, there are no boxing or MMA stars that the Indian can point to in defence of his people’s masculinity.
Inevitably the Indian’s lack of success in contact sports has fed into the perception that he cannot be an alpha male. The beta male tag is one which can bring negative connotations not only in some areas of business but also in social situations, not least in the dating arena (see Kumail Nanjiani for more details).
So how can this perception be counteracted? Well, a badass UFC heavyweight of Indian descent would certainly be a start. Step forward, 6ft, 240lbs Arjan Bhullar, a wrestling specialist, who is about to make his UFC debut in Edmonton tonight. So can Bhullar score a point for Indian masculinity?
Bhullar’s wrestling pedigree
Born in Canada, Bhullar won freestyle wrestling Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth games and went on to represent Canada on the 2012 Olympic team. After his Olympic dreams ended, Bhullar again followed in Cormier’s footsteps choosing to strap on the 4 ounce gloves and test himself in the cage. Bhullar carried the same intensity and work ethic into his MMA training and it paid immediate dividends. Bhullar won all six of his pro bouts including a title victory and defense of the Candaian BFL title. Now in the UFC, Bhullar is eager to start down the path to achieving his new goal of becoming the heavyweight champion of the world.
What should you expect?
Obviously Bhullar is going to bring a level of wrestling to the octagon that will be matched by few, if none of his peers. He is actually a better striker than the aforementioned DC at this stage of his career. Arjan has spent multiple camps training with the plethora of sadistic wrestlers at AKA, but he makes his home at Adam Ryan’s MMA In Richmond, British Colombia. His Olympic level pedigree will give him a distinct advantage over all of the heavyweights, but much like DC, at only 6’0 and 243 lbs he is a smaller heavyweight. A drop to 205 could give Bullar the best opportunity of achieving his championship goals.
What this means for his debut?
Buhllar is matched up against Brazilian youngster Luis Henrique. Henrique is .500 in his 4 UFC fights, with both losses coming to ranked opponents Francis Ngannou and Marcin Tybura. Henrique is solid all around but he will in no way be equipped to deal with the wrestling of Buhllar. If Henrqiue was a larger man I would like his chances, but he will only have around a 5 pound weight advantage. Buhllar might stand early to keep Henrique honest but ultimately he will be able to land take downs at will, en route to a decision victory.