“He was not good enough to make an Olympic team”

Photo Credit: Trust Me Podcast, Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Former college wrestler Bo Nickal has made his long-awaited debut on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS). Last week, the 26-year-old picked up a first-round victory in his second professional MMA fight against Zachary Borrego. However, UFC top 10 light heavyweight Anthony Smith remains unconvinced that Nickal is among the best wrestlers on the planet.

Despite picking up a win, Nickal didn’t get a UFC contract with Dana White. The UFC president gave Nickal a second try to gain more experience and earn a spot on the roster.

During an appearance on the Believe You Me podcast, Smith gave his thoughts on Nickal being considered one of today’s best wrestlers and reacted to his DWCS win.

“I’m a huge NCAA wrestling fan so I know Bo Nickal very well for sure. The reason Bo Nickal is in MMA is that he wasn’t good enough to make an Olympic team and I don’t mean he wasn’t good enough to make it. I don’t mean it like that. Just the guys ahead of him in both weight classes…he just can’t beat those two guys.

“We’re talking about Olympic medalists, world class wrestlers, some of the best wrestlers to ever come out of America or ever step on the mat in the world, so I’m not discrediting him because he can’t beat those guys -the. ”

Anthony Smith believes Bo Nickal has useful violence

Smith, who made his UFC debut in 2013, acknowledged Nickal’s intensity as a wrestler. He thinks his wrestling strengths would help him in his MMA career.

“He’s the best folk-style wrestler that’s ever come to MMA. He’s a freak and he was mean too. Like in his wrestling career, he had this tenacity and meanness when he was wrestling. That will translate very well for MMA because he was just kind of a bully, just wanting to hurt and crush you, kind of a wrestler.

Nickal is a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion at Penn State University. The MMA prospect also received the Hodge Trophy, which is considered the Heisman of the wrestling world. Nickal finished his college wrestling career with a 120-3 record.

Last August, the three-time Big Ten champion shared the news of his transition to MMA. Since then, he has competed in two amateur fights and two professional fights, earning finishes in each.

After his DWCS debut, Nickal repeated that he wanted to be the best fighter in the world.

“I’m always grateful to have the opportunity to compete… The goal is not to be a UFC fighter. I’m here to be UFC champion, to be the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” Nickal said. “I think everyone I fight for the rest of my career…they should expect to be crippled in wrestling if I want to do this to them. I’m just building my reputation.

Nickal is set to make his second DWCS appearance against Donovan Beard on September 27.

Robert J. King