Powered by On3

Bo Nickal outlines path to middleweight title following latest win at UFC 300

IMG_6598by:Nick Kosko04/17/24


USATSI_23020513 (1)
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Nickal improved to 6-0 in his MMA career with his second finish of Cody Brundage at UFC 300 and he already has an idea for his next fight.

The former Penn State three-time NCAA wrestling champion elaborated more on his path to UFC gold when he joined the MMA Hour Wednesday. Nickal mentioned Anthony Herndanez when he was asked to call someone out in his post fight interview with Joe Rogan. Hernandez is No. 12 in the UFC middleweight rankings.

But then again, Nickal is ready for anyone.

“I want to fight right away, July, August, right in there,” Nickal said. “So for me, I’m ready to go. Didn’t even really get hit in this fight. He landed a couple strikes from the clinch and when I was on top of him, but it was more annoying versus actually damaging. 

“So I was back in training on Tuesday and I got the Olympic Trials this weekend. So I’m coaching guys at the Olympic Trials and helping them get ready, but other than that, I’m focused on getting back in there and fighting.”

Hernandez would be a step up in competition, considering he’s ranked. A win there and Nickal could push close, if not into the top 10 of the UFC middleweight rankings.

“I got to talk with the UFC about that,” Nickal said when asked if any opponent’s name comes to mind. “And talk with the coaches. I think that I just want to continue to fight better and better guys. I want to start approaching the rankings here soon. It’s funny because once you get in the rankings you don’t really need to fight, like there’s 15 guys ranked. I don’t need to fight 15 guys to get to the belt right? Only need to fight two or three.

“If I fight a ranked guy then it’s feasible that within six months I’m fighting for the belt. So I think that I want to get maybe one or two more guys that are a little bit better, right outside of the rankings and then maybe early next year, start (fighting) ranked guys. And then maybe 2025, fight for the belt. So that’s kind of where I see it going.”

Nickal attempted to make the USA Olympic Wrestling Team in 2021, but fell short of a team spot to fellow former Penn State national champion David Taylor, who went on to win a gold medal. Nickal fully turned his attention to MMA, opening up an American Top Team gym near Penn State’s campus, training regularly with UFC superstar Jorge Masvidal in the beginning.

In his four seasons at Penn State, Nickal compiled a 120-3 record, won three NCAA titles (two at 184 pounds and one at 197 pounds), was a four-time All-American (national finalist in 2016 at 174 pounds) and finished his career on a 67-match winning streak.