As the wrestling community eagerly anticipates a potential match-up between Islam Makhachev and Jordan Burroughs, UFC rising star Bo Nickal has shared his thoughts on the bout. According to Nickal, Makhachev doesn’t stand a chance against the legendary wrestler Burroughs.
Islam Makhachev, the reigning UFC lightweight champion, has gained recognition as one of the top wrestlers in the promotion. Often likened to his mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev possesses exceptional skills in Sambo, a Russian grappling martial art, which he developed while training under Khabib.
Makhachev’s wrestling prowess has proven instrumental in defeating formidable opponents. In October, he secured a victory over BJJ phenom Charles Oliveira, claiming the vacant lightweight belt. Most recently, Makhachev successfully defended his title against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Confident in his abilities, Makhachev expressed his belief to Daniel Cormier that he could defeat numerous Olympic wrestlers, including the highly acclaimed Jordan Burroughs. This statement quickly generated significant buzz within the wrestling community.
During a recent UFC 290 media day, Bo Nickal, a promising UFC prospect, was asked for his opinion on the potential match-up. Nickal unequivocally stated that Makhachev would have no chance against Burroughs if they were to compete under wrestling rules.
“No, he [Islam Makhachev] doesn’t have a chance. Jordan Burroughs is a 7-time world champion. He is not only one of the greatest wrestlers in America but also the greatest wrestler in the world, as recognized by everyone,” Nickal confidently declared.
Elaborating on his point, Nickal emphasized that Makhachev’s limited wrestling background puts him at a significant disadvantage against a seasoned competitor like Burroughs. While acknowledging Makhachev’s success in sambo and MMA, Nickal emphasized that in the realm of wrestling, the gap between the two athletes is too substantial.
Bo Nickal himself is renowned for his exceptional wrestling skills. As a freestyle and folkstyle wrestler, the 27-year-old clinched the 2019 U23 World Championship and the US Open National Championship. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion.
Having made his professional MMA debut last year, Nickal has enjoyed an undefeated record of 4-0, including one victory within the UFC. Fans can anticipate his return to the octagon at UFC 290, where he will face fellow undefeated prospect Val Woodburn.
As the debate surrounding a potential clash between Makhachev and Burroughs continues, it remains to be seen whether their paths will cross in the wrestling arena. For now, the wrestling community eagerly awaits further developments while keeping an eye on the rise of talents like Bo Nickal within the UFC.
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.