When Edmonton combined martial arts fighter KB “The Bengal” Bhullar steps into the Struggle Island ring in Abu Dhabi on Saturday for his Final Preventing Championship debut, there might be no cheering.
However that will not hassle Bhullar, 28, when he meets English middleweight Tom Breese.
“This entire yr, I have been to some totally different arenas the place there is no such thing as a crowd,” Bhullar instructed CBC radio’s Edmonton AM. “It has its personal peacefulness to it. You’re feeling that it is really simply your self and your opponent there and you’ll simply get absolutely absorbed within the sport itself.”
Although Bhullar has been coaching in combined martial arts since he was 16 years outdated, his promotion to the UFC got here as considerably of a shock.
Bhullar was to seem on Dana White’s Contender Sequence in November, the place aspiring combined martial artwork fighters compete for an opportunity at a UFC contract.
Then, Russian fighter Roman Kopylov needed to pull out of his scheduled battle in Abu Dhabi in opposition to Breese, after he examined optimistic for COVID-19. Bhullar received a name from his supervisor, saying he had an enormous alternative for him.
“The UFC was scrambling to search out him [Breese] an opponent and I jumped on the chance,” Bhullar mentioned. “I used to be like, let’s go, completely.”
Not solely did Bhullar get the decision to battle Breese on Oct. 10, he additionally received a UFC contract.
“That’s akin to being signed to the NBA, the NFL, the NHL. That is the largest MMA sports activities group on the planet,” Bhullar mentioned.
Bhullar began coaching in taekwondo at age 14 alongside his youthful brother, and began MMA by the point he was 16. He turned professional in 2012.
Nonetheless, Bhullar’s youthful brother was badly injured in a match in 2014, fracturing bones in his face.
“It left a foul style in my mouth for a very long time concerning MMA and what we do to folks,” Bhullar mentioned. “I hated the game for some time and it took plenty of soul-searching to get again into it.”
Bhullar took a while off from preventing and went again to high school. Nonetheless, the pull of MMA was sturdy and he returned to competitors in 2018.
He now trains alongside MMA heavyweight Tanner “Bulldozer” Boser.
“This sport is part of me,” Bhullar mentioned. “It’s what I’m and has outlined my identification since I used to be a boy. It is inescapable.”
Bhullar mentioned he is now blessed to have a powerful following from his hometown Edmonton crowd.
Able to battle
Getting known as as much as the UFC got here with challenges.
When Edmonton AM reached Bhullar, he was in Abu Dhabi making an attempt to get used to the time change, because the battle is scheduled for round four a.m. Edmonton time.
He additionally had plenty of weight to chop. Bhullar mentioned he often weighs between 200 to 205 kilos, however has to get all the way down to 185 kilos to battle within the middleweight class. He mentioned he trims the final 10 kilos within the 24 hours earlier than the weigh in.
“It is a non permanent factor,” Bhullar defined. “It comes proper again. For these at residence, considering it is a fast weight-loss factor, it is not. It is form of abusive to the physique and I want it by no means existed, however it’s a part of the game.”
Whereas the stakes are excessive for his first UFC battle, Bhullar mentioned he treats each match prefer it’s an important of his life.
“I’ve to carry out nicely each single battle, as a result of my wellbeing is on the road,” he mentioned. “Having a foul day on this sport shouldn’t be like having a foul day in different sports activities. We are able to get damage in there.”
“My aim is to go in there and decimate my competitors and win.”
With information from Ariel Fournier