Three-time NCAA Division 1 national champion Bo Nickal just signed a contract with the UFC after his second-straight submission victory on Dana White’s Contender Series. Despite not technically making his promotional debut, the Nittany Lion is already calling out a big name. None other than Khamzat Chimaev.
After moving to 3-0 with a 52-second submission of Donovan Beard, Nickal earned his UFC contract and then immediately took a shot at Chimaev in his post-fight interview.
“If the UFC wishes, give me that Swedish dude. 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.”
It got the attention of the MMA community, some who believe Nickal is good enough to give Chimaev a run for his money, while others believe the three-time Big 10 conference champion may have bitten off more than he can chew. During an interview with ‘The Schmo‘ on YouTube, UFC 280 competitor and No. 6 ranked lightweight Beneil Dariush was asked about his thoughts on a potential showdown between ‘Borz’ and Nickal.
“Grappling, I think you have to go with Bo Nickal. I think he’s a better grappler. But the thing is, I think the thing with him Khamzat is I think he’s got more power. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen Bo Nickal knock people out too, so it’s experience too. I think Khamzat has more experience. He’s been in the MMA game longer so if they were to fight at this moment, I would say Khamzat. If you give it a year or two, I would say Bo Nickal. A guy like Bo Nickal, he’s gonna have great growth so I would lean towards him.”
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) October 3, 2022
Beneil Dariush Says The Hype Is Real For Both Khamzat Chimaev and Bo Nickal
As two of the most hyped fighters of the last few years, Dariush was asked how he compares the hype each fighter has received upon their first few fights inside the Octagon and the keys to victory in a potential meeting.
‘The hype is real for both and think of it like this: the way Khamzat fights, he always comes in and wrestles first. I know he talks about striking and whatnot, but he always grapples first. Bo doesn’t do that. He’ll stand with you and then he’ll grapple. So it’s really going to be, who’s going to develop that second part of their game. Who’s going to develop striking faster and go further with it. Because if they end up fighting each other, a lot of it will be stand-up.”
As for Dariush, the top-10 contender is headed to Abu Dhabi in preparation for his bout with No. 9 ranked contender Mateusz Gamrot. The two fighters will step inside the Octagon with a world title opportunity potentially hanging in the balance. In the evening’s main event, Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will square off to crown a new UFC lightweight champion after ‘Do Bronx’ was stripped of the title in May due to a much speculated botched weight cut.