Having made an impactful professional debut under the banner of Jorge Masvidal‘s iKON FC promotion, three-time NCAA Division I National Champion Nickal was handed an opportunity on this year’s season of Dana White‘s Contender Series.
Early last month, the 26-year-old put in a near-perfect display, submitting Zachary Borrego in just 62 seconds. But owing to Nickal’s inexperience, White initially chose against signing him, instead offering “The Allen Assassin” another DWCS matchup.
That went down on Tuesday night on the final card of the season. In an even more impressive performance, Nickal stopped Donovan Beard in just 52 seconds via triangle choke submission, firmly leaving no doubt as to whether he would receive a UFC contract at the end of the night.
During an interview with Laura Sanko after he secured his place on the UFC roster, Nickal made an ambitious callout, claiming he’d be willing to share the Octagon with #3-ranked welterweight Khamzat Chimaev, who is undefeated in 14 pro fights and boasts victories over Gilbert Burns and Li Jingliang.
“I’m ready to go in December. If the UFC wishes, give me that Swedish dude,” Nickal said. “I don’t think he might be the best guy because he can’t even make weight.”
And Nickal has insisted that having the name of “Borz” on his lips wasn’t a disingenuous statement.
Nickal On Chimaev Callout: ‘I’m Not Kidding’
During his post-fight media scrum, Nickal was asked how he’d assess a future fight with Chimaev, with reporter Kevin Iole suggesting that the 26-year-old’s immediate callout was made in jest.
After insisting that his words were serious, Nickal acknowledged Chimaev’s talents, which have seen the Chechen-born Swede finish 11 of his 12 opponents to date in pro MMA. But despite that, “The Allen Assassin” believes a matchup with “Borz” would favor him.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about as far as ‘kidding.’ I feel like that’s a good matchup for me,” Nickal said. “He’s obviously a high-level grappler, high-level fighter; he’s one of the top fighters in not only his division, but in the UFC. So, I have a lot of respect for his skills. But I also know what I’m about.
“I’m making my UFC debut, right, and he’s probably fighting for the title soon. So am I gonna get that fight? Probably not, but I’m ready to go and it will happen in the future, and I’ll be more than prepared then,” Nickal added.
Nickal’s remarks about his chances against Chimaev were not the first time he’s set his targets high. The Colorado native has previously expressed confidence about a potential showdown with UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya.
Having extend his record to 3-0 with a pair of DWCS triumphs, Nickal will be looking to begin his UFC tenure on the same note. While some would suggest that the elite wrestler is ready to face elite competition, the promotion could look to grow his star and hype further with a conventional rise up the ladder.
Either way, it appears that Nickal could be getting his first taste of Octagon action before the close of 2022.
How do you think Bo Nickal would fare against Khamzat Chimaev?