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It’s Inevitable – Nickal envisions ‘huge’ bout with Chimaev

Bo Nickal following his second Contender Series appearance in 2022.
Bo Nickal following his second Contender Series appearance in 2022. | Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

The UFC newcomer is already getting ready for a potential showdown with the two-division sensation. 

Fresh off his contract-winning performance on Contender Series this past September, Bo Nickal was ready to get his UFC career started.

The highly touted prospect wasted no time going after one of the biggest names in the promotion, Khamzat Chimaev. The American Top Team (ATT) used his time on the microphone to challenge Chimaev, who was coming off a submission win against Kevin Holland at UFC 279 earlier that month.

“If the UFC wishes, give me that Swedish dude,” said Nickal. “He might not even be the best guy, because he can’t even make weight, but if that’s the case, I’ll take him.”

UFC president Dana White said the Chimaev fight was not an option yet for Nickal, stating that he would rather ‘build up’ the three-time NCAA Division I National Champion first. And with that, Nickal was scheduled for his first appearance against Jamie Pickett.

Although he has a different opponent in front of him, Nickal said at his media day appearance on Wednesday that he expects him and Chimaev to share the Octagon one day. And when they do, the 27-year-old believes it would be one of the biggest fights in UFC history.

“[Fighting Khamzat Chimaev] would be huge,” said Nickal (video provided by MMA Junkie). “Obviously he has a lot of attention. He is probably the biggest, most hyped guy coming up right now that hasn’t won a belt yet. I think, eventually, us clashing is inevitable. That’s something that I visualize in my training and when I’m in a hard workout, getting my last bike sprint in, getting my last rep in, in the weight room, I’m visualizing that.

“Whether that fight comes in a year, or in three years, or in five years, whatever it is, I’ll be ready,” continued Nickal. “I do a lot of visualization and I see that fight happening as main event in Raiders’ Stadium in front of 100,0000 people. I think it would be the biggest event in UFC history. Only time will tell whether or not we actually get that, but I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen.”

Of course, Nickal has to get through his first fight with Pickett.

“I would obviously love to get a finish,” said Nickal. “I like to fight with exciting style and make sure that I put on a good show for the fans. But for me, success is just being the best version of myself and performing to the best of my abilities. So regardless of whether I finish him in a minute or win a decision in 15, I think as long as I perform the best and I feel like I gave 100 percent, then that’s a win in my book.”

UFC 285 is set for Sat., March 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nickal vs. Pickett serves as the pay-per-view opener.

About the author: Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016. (full bio)


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