Sultan Ali Khan (Salman Khan) is a middle-aged ex-wrestling champion, who is living a mediocre and lonely life in the small town ofHaryana. Aakash Oberoi (Amit Sadh), the founder of a private mixed martial arts league, is encouraged by his father to hire an Indian wrestler to salvage the league's popularity. He travels to Haryana to make an offer to Sultan, who bluntly refuses and says that he has completely retired from wrestling. In search of the reason behind his retirement, Aakash confronts Sultan's close friend Govind (Anant Sharma), who narrates how Sultan's career began.
Eight years ago, Sultan fell in love at the sight of Aarfa Hussain (Anushka Sharma), a state-level wrestler and the daughter of a local wrestling coach. Although she was initially cold towards him, Aarfa accepted Sultan as a friend. When he began to proclaim that she was his girlfriend, she rejected him by stating that she wishes to marry an accomplished wrestler like herself. Determined to win her respect, Sultan dedicated himself to intense training and ultimately won a state-level wrestling tournament, as well as Aarfa's love. The two were married and became recognized wrestlers, representing India in various international tournaments like theCommonwealth Games and the Asian Games. When the two were announced as finalists for the Olympic Games, Aarfa discovered that she was pregnant. She gave up her childhood dream of winning an Olympic gold medal for India, which was then fulfilled by Sultan. To her surprise, Sultan's accomplishment made him arrogant, and he acted conceitedly during a press conference. Even though Aarfa informed him that she was nearing her due date, Sultan left to win another international wrestling championship. Upon returning, he was shocked to know that his newborn son had died due to severe anemia. The baby had a rare O negative blood type, identical to Sultan's, whose absence deprived the child of a donor. Angered, Aarfa decided to leave Sultan and reside with her father. Depressed from losing his wife and child, Sultan began to fundraise to open a blood bank in Haryana.