Is UFC’s Bo Nickal the best Contender Series prospect yet?

Daniel Cunningham
Bo Nickal UFC
Mar 23, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Penn State wrestler Bo Nickal (grey) enters the arena prior to wrestling Ohio State wrestler Kollin Moore (not pictured) in the finals of the 197 pound weight class during the NCAA Wrestling Championships at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Last night, Bo Nickal (3-0) earned himself a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. The 26-year-old Nickal was competing in his second fight on the Contender Series. He fought on the show last month. Both wins were first round wins and the total time it took was 1:54.

Last night, Nickal dropped Donovan Beard with a big overhand left. From there, his sensational grappling took over. He was able to get the mount and then locked up a triangle choke before moving to his back to finish. Just like Khabib Nurmagomedov did to Justin Gaethje.

I’m going to say it right now, Bo Nickal is an absolute problem. He’s explosive, he’s fast, he’s powerful, and he has arguably the best wrestling in the entire promotion. Let’s be perfectly clear about something, Bo Nickal is on a different level in terms of his wrestling.

You hear guys have solid wrestling credentials, but not like this guy. Nickal is a three-time division one national champion. He won gold at the U23 world championships and he was a finalist for the Olympic Team Trials.

So he has that background to build off of. What makes him so special already is how quickly he’s become so good with his striking and his submission game. He has power that you just can’t teach. His transitions on the ground to submissions are flawless. Bo Nickal is already a problem in the UFC.

UFC’s Next Hype Train?

Yes, this article so far has just been a love-fest for Bo Nickal. As you can probably tell, I think very highly of him as a prospect. However, we also have to understand that he hasn’t been tested yet. Just like Khamzat Chimaev hadn’t been tested when he joined the UFC.

I’m expecting the promotion to book Nickal in a fight fairly quickly. If I was running things, I would honestly give him a top 20-30 guy right away. If he runs through that level of opponent, I would start moving him up the rankings quickly.

Sure, you could slow play him to build his hype even more. However, you normally should do that when someone is dominant, but also a little raw in areas. Nickal looks like a pretty polished product already. He’s already calling for a fight with Khamzat Chimaev.

From a show that produced Sean O’Malley, Jamahal Hill, Sodiq Yusuff, and Geoff Neal amongst others, Bo Nickal might be the best UFC prospect to ever come off this show. I can’t wait to see what he can do inside the octagon.