Arjan Bhullar will finally make his return to the ONE Championship Circle after winning the ONE Heavyweight World Championship over Brandon Vera at ONE: DANGAL in 2021.
Technicalities sidelined the Canadian-Indian competitor for over a year. But with his matters settled, he’s now ready to face ONE Interim Heavyweight World Champion Anatoly Malykhin – or so it seems.
“Contracts are signed, and we've got ourselves a fight!!! He waits for me when I want him to wait, and he signs when I want him to sign,” Bhullar wrote in a recent Instagram post.
Their unification bout will settle the score on who is the rightful heavyweight titleholder. However, they’ve been throwing verbal jabs at each other for some time now.
After winning the ONE Interim Heavyweight World Championship against Kirill Grishenko at ONE: BAD BLOOD this past February, Malykhin said that Bhullar isn’t a real champion because he only picks fights that are convenient to him.
“Sladkiy” also added that Bhullar has been ducking him. This time, it appears that their clash is inevitable.
Anyway, it wouldn’t make sense for “Singh” to fight another competitor without dealing with Malykhin first. Beating the Russian will help solidify the legitimacy of his ONE World Title reign, mainly because it will be his first defense since winning it.
While there’s no definite date for their clash yet, Bhullar dropped a hint that their fight could happen live on Amazon Prime for North American audiences.
However, the match wouldn’t be a stroll in the park because Malykhin has knocked out all of his three opponents in The Home of Martial Arts.
And though he is coming off a lengthy layoff, Bhullar manifests the heart of a champion through his unwavering confidence.
“On fight night, he will fight the fight I want him to. @anmalykhin, you are a 5-foot-9 mental midget, and I own you,” he wrote.
With the battle lines seemingly drawn, it’s time for Bhullar and Malykhin to engage in combat. With their power, it’s impossible to see the contest going the distance, making it a must-watch showdown – if or when it happens.
In the meantime, ONE Championship returns to action with ONE 159 on 22 July. Two-division ONE World Champion Reinier de Ridder will defend the ONE Middleweight World Championship against Vitaly Bigdash. Also, ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet Todd takes on WBC Muay Thai World Champion Lara Fernandez for the ONE Interim Women's Atomweight Muay Thai World Title.