Bo Nickal earned a UFC contract by steamrolling Donovan Beard on Dana White’s “Contender Series” last Tues. night (Sept. 27, 2022) at the APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, propelling the three-time collegiate wrestling champion to a flawless 3-0 record with three first-round finishes.
Nickal is also a perfect 2-0 on the amateur circuit.
The victory came so quickly and with such little resistance that Nickal is hoping to make his UFC debut before the end of the year. Still just 26 years old, the American Top Team (ATT) standout is expected to become a major player in the middleweight division and already has his sights set on top talent.
LIke fellow undefeated wrestler Khamzat Chimaev.
“If the UFC wishes, give me that Swedish dude,” Nickal said after the fight (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “He might not even be the best guy, because he can’t even make weight, but if that’s the case, I’ll take him. I feel like that’s a good matchup for me. He’s obviously a high-level grappler, high-level fighter. He’s one of the top fighters not only in his division, but in the UFC. I have a lot of respect for his skills but I also know what I’m about.”
Chimaev is expected to move back up to the middleweight division after a disastrous scale fail at UFC 279, so it’s not unreasonable to think these two will cross paths at some point down the line. But promotion president Dana White is not ready to risk his top 185-pound prospect — and a potential pay-per-view payoff — with hotshot booking.
“Let’s not get crazy here,” White said at the “Contender Series” press conference. “You don’t test him against ranked talent. You bring him in just like you would bring in any prospect. You build him up, give him fights. The problem is, there’s no easy fights here. This isn’t like the boxing model. But he walked into a show where there’s no easy fights. Everybody here are killers. So if you perform the way that you performed here twice – there’s some guys that come in here and it’s a rough go. There’s wars, and they’ll squeak out a win at the end. This guy came out and dominated twice.”
Chimaev has yet to respond to his Nickal callout.