A three-time Division I National wrestling champion representing Penn State, Bo Nickal is set to appear on Dana White’s Contender Series this August.
The AllStar Sport was first to report the news — a rarity, given that Nickal is just 1-0 as a mixed martial artist.
Nickal’s wrestling pedigree, however, has clearly caught the attention of the UFC, and he now follows in the footsteps of Greg Hardy and Danyelle Wolf, both of whom arrived on DWCS with just a single fight to their name.
Cageside Press caught up with Nickal at Friday’s UFC X fan expo, where Nickal gave his reaction to landing a spot on the show.
“It feels great, I’m really here, you know? I’ve been training MMA about 11 months now, and so it’s definitely gone fast, this process,” said Nickal. “Being able to fight on Contender Series this next August is quicker than I had originally anticipated, but it doesn’t really surprise me because I know my work ethic and everything that I put in this, and I’m ready to go.”
That means Nickal will have had about a year’s worth of training on the striking side of things by the time he reaches his Contender Series date. In terms of judging his own progression, at least in part it comes down to feeling comfortable under fire.
“Definitely comfort has a lot to do with it. Just being able to be relaxed in situations with punches coming at you and different things like that,” Nickal explained. “Fortunately I have access to American Top Team, great training partners and great coaches.” Listening to his manager and coaches is key, continued Nickal. “Those are the guys that I open my ear to and am listening to and taking advice from. For me, it’s all about just continuing to grow, improve, get better, and trust in those that I have close to me.”
He’s also at a stage where he’s no longer focused on always shooting for the takedown, Nickal later explained.
“I think that I’m mixing it up. I’m a little more well-rounded at this point in my career, where I know I can stand with people, I know I can move my head, not get hit, stay at the range where I want to be in, and I don’t feel like I need to shoot out of desperation,” the 26-year old stated. “I get to control where the fight happens. That doesn’t mean I need to be in a rush, I need to have anxiety— I actually have less anxiety because hey, if I want to take you down, we’re going down. If I want to stay on the feet, we’re gonna be on the feet. So for me, it’s more of a relaxing feeling. I don’t have to feel like ‘oh I need to shoot!’ It’s just, hey, man, I get to decide where this fight happens and I’m going to have the advantage.”
Watch our full interview with DWCS star Bo Nickal above.