• Anatoly Malykhin has criticized Arjan Bhullar for ducking opponents
  • Bhullar recently branded Malykhin as a "coward," which prompted the Russian's response
  • No date has been announced yet for their clash to unify the ONE heavyweight titles

The ONE Championship heavyweight title picture will be having some clarity to it soon as the interim champion Anatoly Malykhin will face reigning king Arjan Bhullar in a unification bout later this year.

Since they both have a substantial claim to being the undisputed champion of the division, each side has made it clear that they want to fight as soon as possible.

Bhullar and Malykhin have been trading barbs with each other in recent days after the former confirmed that he had signed his extension with ONE, with the Indian claiming that the Russian was a "coward."

However, the interim champion was not going to take that accusation lightly as he responded to Bhullar’s claims and decided to send him the same criticism.

“[Bhullar] is my little baby chicken who is clinging on to the belt that should be mine. He’s not a real champion. He keeps hiding from strong opponents, tries to choose convenient opponents,” Malykhin said in a recent interview.

“I am a Russian Freestyle Wrestling Champion, so he won’t be able to surprise me. His striking is very weak, it looks like he is trying to swat a mosquito. People will forget him after I am finished with him.”

Malykhin has been serving as the temporary face of the weight class since knocking out Kirill Grishenko in spectacular fashion at ONE: Bad Blood to capture the interim title as Bhullar was busy dealing with his contract negotiations with the promotion.

Filipino-American mixed martial arts (MMA) icon Brandon Vera also caught stray shots from Malykhin while taking potshots at Bhullar’s skills.

“No disrespect to the legend. [Vera] was a great champ and [held] that belt for a while, but I think he was already very tired and mentally done,” Malykhin stated.

With his eyes and focus completely on the prize, defeating Bhullar will not just see him be crowned as the official king of the division but also extend his impressive winning streak to four under the organization's banner.

He has three early knockout victories to his name since joining ONE Championship and will look to do the same against Bhullar when they inevitably get booked to face each other.

But until the company announces the date, both men and the fans will need to wait and see what other words will be said in this upcoming matchup that has a ton of consequences for the heavyweight division.

Arjan Bhullar
Arjan-Bhullar defeats Mauro Cerilli at ONE: Century in Tokyo, Japan ONE Championship