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Richmond, B.C.’s Arjan Bhullar crowned MMA world champion

He’s wrestled for Canada in the Olympic, Commonwealth and Pan American Games, but Richmond’s Arjan Bhullar is celebrating his biggest win yet.

On Saturday, the B.C. born fighter was crowned One Championship Mixed Martial Arts Champion after defeating reigning heavyweight king Brandon Vera with a second-round TKO.

“You visualize it, you plan for it, you train for it, but when it happens there’s no feeling like it. Champ. That’s for life, that stays baby,” Bhullar told Global News.

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“All of those (wrestling) milestones were significant, huge moments in my life, but every single one led to this. It was really a lifetime of work, The goal has always been to be a world champion and that’s what this means. It’s a great feeling for my family, for my self, for community, for Richmond-born and raised — ah, man, it’s awesome.”

Bhullar has represented the maple leaf many times, in the ONE Championship he made the decision to highlight his Indian heritage.

With his victory, he became the first MMA champion of Indian descent, and he said he’s hoping to inspire more champions from the country he feels a close family relationship to.

“When it came to the fight game, look, we had our GSP (Georges St-Pierre), we had our Carlos Newton UFC champs,” he said.

“Back home (in India) this is going to be huge, this gives hope that this is possible, that’s what this really means. There’s going to be so many more champions coming down the pipe, once they see this is possible.”

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Bhullar said the win was particularly important now, as India is being ravaged by COVID-19.

“I think the timing couldn’t have been better in terms of giving that hope and giving that positivity and giving a good distraction from the harsh reality on the ground.”

So what’s next for the world champion, now that he’s hit the pinnacle?

Click to play video: Meet B.C.’s budd-ing MMA star

Don’t be surprised if you see Bhullar in the pro wrestling ring, either with WWE or AEW — both of whom he said he’s in talks with.

Wherever his career takes him from here, Bhullar said Saturday’s win can never be taken from him — and from the youth he hopes to inspire.

“I never had this, growing up where I could say hey, ‘that guy’s a world champion, he looks like me, talks like me, he’s grown up with the same values,” he said.

“If I can do that now for someone else it will just multiply and multiply in terms of success and positivity in this world. And what else is life about except living crazy experiences and leaving it a little better than when you got here?”

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