Rising UFC star Bo Nickal feels Michael Chandler’s advice to slow down his ambitious Octagon path is important for young fighters like himself.
Nickal made quick work of Jamie Pickett in his highly-anticipated UFC debut on Saturday at UFC 285. He quickly secured Pickett’s back with relative ease before sinking in the arm-triangle choke for the win.
Nickal, arguably one of the most hyped prospects in UFC history, has called out the likes of Khamzat Chimaev and Israel Adesanya during his four-fight MMA career. A former NCAA collegiate wrestling champion, Nickal is no stranger to the limelight and is taking advantage of the added attention in the UFC.
Chandler, who also comes from a collegiate wrestling background, gave a recent assessment of Nickal’s potential. While he feels Nickal’s potential is unquestioned, he feels Nickal needs to tone it down with the ambitious callouts.
Some fighters would take offense to Chandler’s comments, but Nickal feels Chandler’s remarks hold some merit.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Nickal weighed in on Chandler’s comments.
“I think there’s a lot of wisdom with that statement,” Nickal said. “I think Michael Chandler is a fan of me, I think Michael Chandler wants me to win. First off, he said my potential is exponential, so let’s look at what he’s actually saying. He’s talking about it in a perspective of the fans. If I say ‘Give me Khamzat’…99% of fans are going to say [I’m an idiot]…that’s the perspective that he’s taking. He’s not hating on me at all. I don’t think he’s a guy that would do that because he’s always been cool to me.
“A guy that is as big as Michael Chandler is talking about someone who just made his UFC debut, that’s a big deal. But secondly, I don’t think he’s trying to put me down, I think that’s just how he sees it…if you say these things, the fans are gonna perceive it a certain way, which is true.”
Nickal is unbeaten in his MMA career, with two first-round wins on Dana White’s Contender Series. He could be pushed up the ranks of the middleweight division quickly if he continues to put forward impressive performances.
Before getting the attention of Dana White and the UFC, Nickal made his MMA debut at iKon FC 3, earning a first-round knockout. He’s 4-0 in his career after making the full-time move to MMA.
Nickal doesn’t disagree with Chandler’s comments and feels that his perspective is understandable. The fact that a big-name star like Chandler is keeping an eye on Nickal shows how gifted the former Penn State wrestling standout is inside the Octagon.
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