Bo Nickal is confident he could take on the top tier of the UFC’s middleweight division, which includes current champion Alex Pereira and former champion Israel Adesanya.
Along with the rest of his colleagues, Nickal watched the recent title fight between Pereira and Adesanya, which saw ‘Po Atan’ knock out the ‘Last Stylebender’ by fifth round TKO at UFC 281 this November spent As impressed as he was with their attack, the recent UFC signee wasn’t impressed with his grappling, an area in which he has excelled since before making the switch to mixed martial arts.
During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA HourThree-time NCAA Division I National Champion he explained why would favoring himself in potential fights against Pereira and Adesanya.
“That’s a reasonable thing, I’d say – I’m not going to say it’s an ‘easy’ fight because, it’s dangerous. But as far as styles go, that’s a great match for me,” Nickal said. “I’ve watched his fight a few times and the grappling, you know—the striking exchanges, needless to say. They are excellent strikers. But when they get a hold of each other, it’s almost, like, funny.
“I like to laugh at how they’re moving and what they’re doing and doing things,” Nickal continued. “And maybe they feel that way about me hitting pads and hitting the bag and stuff. But I just think, if I had grabbed either of those guys, they wouldn’t have done well. And I think everybody knows that, so that’s not a shocking statement or something that’s really weird, in my opinion.”
Before he can make fights against Pereira or Adesanya, the Contender League graduate must first play in the UFC. For his first assignment, Nickal shares the Octagon with Jamie Pickett, another Contender League graduate and UFC veteran.
While he knows what Pickett can do, the 3-0 prospect is confident he will continue his first-round knockout streak when the pair collide at UFC 285.
“I think you always have to go into a fight that’s relevant,” Nickal said. “I think if you’re too calm, accepting and looking out for people, that’s a recipe for disaster. So for me, I would say I’m very anxious, very aware of everything he has to offer. I watch a lot of movies and I feel fully prepared for whatever he has in store for me. Having said that, I am very confident and I know what I have to do out there. I expect to finish it in the first round. If that doesn’t happen, finish him second and if that doesn’t happen, finish him third, but he’s not doing the full 15 minutes. I trust that.”
UFC 285 goes down on Sat., March 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Nickal vs. Pickett serves as the pay-per-view segment’s opener.
About the Author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full biography)