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Dana White, hero of Abu Dhabi, benched Bo Nickal and saved Khamzat from humiliating beatdown at UFC 294

“His wrestling is trash,” Nickal said. “I won’t even say mid. It’s just so funny ... you go into this world of MMA where ... there’s no other sport where people know less and think they know more.”

Khamzat Chimaev will live to fight another day.

The former welterweight (and former Swede) will make his return to 185 pounds for the upcoming UFC 294 pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event on Oct. 21 in Abu Dhabi, where “Borz” will battle former 170-pound titleholder Kamaru Usman.

“The Nigerian Nightmare” was a surprising choice to replace the ailing Paulo Costa, who was bounced from UFC 294 with a bum elbow, particularly with other deserving middleweights like Bo Nickal waiting patiently in the wings.

Turns out the collegiate wrestling phenom was never an option.

“I was disappointed they didn’t ask me to step in there. I was expecting at least an ask like, ‘Hey, you want to do this?’ But no, just nothing,” Nickal said on YouTube. “Nothing from the UFC. It is what it is. I’m guessing they didn’t want me to roll over into Abu Dhabi on like 10 days’ notice and smash their boy in front of his home crowd or something.”

Nickal is unranked at middleweight — but so are Chimaev and Usman.

No doubt the undefeated Nickal, who is 5-0 in his professional MMA career with five first-round finishes, was even more disappointed to learn that UFC CEO Dana White promised the winner of Chimaev-Usman the next middleweight title shot.

“That’s a fight that needs proper buildup and I get that,” Nickal continued. “It was just interesting to me because I got probably got today, I don’t even know how many comments and DMs and this-and-that, ‘Fight Khamzat!’ And I’m like ‘Well, they didn’t even ask.’ It wasn’t even an option really. There’s probably a lot that went into that decision. We’ll do it another time.”

After all ... it’s “inevitable.”

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WORLD FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Sat., Feb. 17, 2024, for the first time in more than two years with its latest pay-per-view (PPV) show. In the ESPN+-streamed PPV main event, reigning Featherweight roost-ruler, Alexander Volkanovski, will defend his 145-pound strap against undefeated surging Spanish contender, Ilia Topuria. In addition, former Middleweight kingpin, Robert Whittaker, will finally square off with mercurial mauler, Paulo Costa, in UFC 298’s co-feature. UFC 298 will also feature the returns of Ian Garry, Geoff Neal, Henry Cejudo, Merab Dvalishvili and so much more!

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 294 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET (also on ESPN+).

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 294: “Makhachev vs. Volkanovski 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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