UFC 285: Who is Bo Nickal?
Wrestling has a lot of historical significance in mixed martial arts. It’s the base style that helped develop champions such as Tito Ortiz, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Frankie Edgar, and many others. Style dominance is cyclical in MMA, but there is always a space for big-name amateur wrestlers to make their way into the cage. UFC 285 marks such a situation fo Bo Nickal, who is a name that fans may quickly get to know if his performances live up to the hype.
Nickal is set to make his official UFC debut at UFC 285 in a main-card bout against Jamie Pickett. The Rifle, Colorado native comes into the cage with some of the best wrestling credentials to date.
The highlight of Nickal’s career came in college, where he was a member of a Penn State team that was one of the most dominant in collegiate sports. During that time he won three NCAA championships, two came at 184 pounds, and the final at 197 in 2019. As a first-year student, he ended his run in second place in the 174-pound division, a highlight in its own right.
Post-college, Nickal didn’t find the same success and never made an appearance as a part of the US Wrestling team in the Summer Olympics. However, he did win two gold medals in 2019, one in the Under-23 World Championships and the other in the US Nationals.
That success that Nickal displayed as an amateur wrestler has followed him so far in mixed martial arts. He brings a 3-0 record into this Octagon debut, with all three fights ending via some form of finish, and none of his opponents lasting more than 70 seconds. His last two victories came on the Dana White Contender Series and helped put him on the map for this highly-anticipated debut.
Nickal is one of the best collegiate wrestlers to ever sign with the UFC. As fans already book him against dream opponents, he makes his first walk into the Octagon at UFC 285, which can mark the beginning of another run for a top talent in wrestling making the transition to mixed martial arts.