Decorated wrestler Bo Nickal is making his professional MMA debut on June 3rd. Heading into his debut, he showed his confidence by claiming that he could beat MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov on the wrestling mat.
Nickal will have his pro debut against fellow debutant John Noland on Jorge Masvidal’s iKON FC 3 this Friday. Prior to his pro debut, he has won two amateur fights, both by first-round finishes.
Before transitioning into MMA, Nickal finished his NCAA career with a record of 120-3 in four years of eligibility at Penn State. He then began training at American Top Team before decided to turn pro.
Despite only training in MMA for 10 months, Nickal made a bold claim that he could beat MMA legend Nurmagomedov in 30 seconds or less in wrestling.
“To be 100 per cent honest with you, if I were to ever wrestle Khabib, Khabib wouldn’t last more than 30 seconds against me in a wrestling match,” Nickal said in an interview with Givemesport.
While he’s not taking away anything from Nurmagomedov’s legacy, he believed that in a real wrestling match, Nurmagomedov won’t last long.
“Maybe 60 seconds, tops. I respect the guy, don’t get me wrong, like he’s tough. If he’s not the greatest of all time in MMA, he’s up there. “
“There’s nobody that can have an all-time greats list and not have him on it. I’ve done this my whole life. He’s done sambo his whole life but it’s a different thing. It would be the same as asking me if I could stop Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring. That’s kind of my thought process on me wrestling Khabib. Obviously, great at what he’s done, I have so much respect for him, but that’s my world. So he’s not lasting very long.”
‘The Eagle’ retired from professional prizefighting in 2020 following his father’s passing. However, if both he and Nickal want it, a wrestling exhibition between the two might be a way to settle things.
Luthfi Prawiro is a writer based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has a strong passion for combat sports and a BA in Psychology. His undergraduate thesis was on the Sports Psychology of MMA.