Olympian Arjan Bhullar Believes Wrestling Still King

Arjan Bhullar Arjan Bhullar
The long road that leads to the Olympics is a grueling one. In addition to the long hours of training and preparing, Olympic qualifying tournaments can start more than a year before the actual Olympics. Yet, after qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics, Arjan Bhullar had even more on his mind than simply wrestling on the world's biggest stage.

"Heading into the Olympics, I knew I was going to make the switch [to MMA]," Bhullar told FloCombat's Top Turtle Podcast recently.

The idea to make the switch came from seeing others he knew do exactly the same. Although the decision seemed early, it actually was a long time coming.

"It's something I've been excited about, watching people I competed against and train with already transition and become successful [in MMA]..." Bhullar said. "With wrestling you usually you start very young. I've been doing it since I was in diapers. So it was something that was a good change and came natural."

And while Bhullar trusts his own skills and believes he has what it takes, he puts a lot of stock in wrestling in general as the best way to prepare someone for an MMA career.

"That's one of the key reasons that wrestlers do so well," he said. "Getting to the Olympic games and becoming a world team member, all those matches and all that experience, all that training; those wrestlers learned along the way and there's very few sports that can emulate that and get you what you need to get to a high level."

Looking at the heavyweight division, there are few people currently ranked who would be considered first and foremost wrestlers. However, Bhullar doesn't see that as an indictment or a poor trend for wrestling in general.

"You don't have a huge number of wrestlers in the heavyweight division, which I'm OK with, but the ones who are there are having success..." Bhullar said. "Wrestling is the key skill set to have, especially in the heavyweight division. Predominantly in the heavyweight division you have hands and you have takedowns… if you have that you're doing well."

The lack of wrestlers near the top is something Bhullar hopes to exploit. He believes that it'll allow for him to not only get to the top quickly but also make a long stay there.

"If you look at the lineage of wrestlers in the heavyweight division, from Mark Coleman on down, they are dominant," Bhullar said. "Every single generation a wrestler has been at the top of the heap. From Randy [Couture] to Mark Coleman, any of those guys who stuck around the top, they were wrestlers.

"At the end of the day, if you're a heavyweight and you're swinging hands, anything can happen at that weight class. If you can win a fight with takedowns, it allows for longevity as well."


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