Hall Of Fame
It’s very rare that your favorite fighter has a new favorite fighter who hasn’t even won a fight yet.
Jorge Masvidal has exploded into one of the biggest stars in the history of the sport with both his skill and personality playing into his success, but he has always been game for a brawl since he was brawling in backyards for nothing more than street cred.
As a product of the streets that turned into a refined mix of street mentality with gym skills, there aren’t a lot of people who have ever been able to grab Masvidal’s attention, but Bo Nickal has definitely done just that.
“I’m putting a lot of weight on him, but he’s kind of like the new future of MMA, in a way,” Masvidal said of Nickal. “He’s got a great wrestling background, he can’t get held down by nobody, and he grew up watching MMA and wanting to do it. He’s already familiar with striking, he’s not foreign to striking like we saw in his last fight.”
Masvidal has been hoping for an MMA run from Nickal since he first laid eyes on him all the way back in 2016. Before he ever won a Hodge Trophy, before he ever won a National Championship, Masvidal knew he was the guy.
“I discovered Bo because of wrestling,” Masvidal said. “I’m a huge wrestling fan, love wrestling, love collegiate wrestling even more, to be precise. I saw Bo in New York City, Madison Square Garden, his freshman year competing for the National title. He took second place, but I was so blown away by how he was competing, the moves he was going for, how daring he is and, man, he’s like a knockout artist in wrestling - he’s a pinner. He’s not just going to hold you down; he’s trying to get you out of there and pin you. It’s not by coincidence. I think he holds the record for pins for that weight class he was in or some crazy stat like that. It’s nuts, and what he’s done is impressive. I know he led the country in that weight, for sure. I had my eye on him since his freshman year, then his sophomore year, then his junior year and I was like, ‘this guy’s a beast, bro.’ Then I get to train with him and I’m finding out how into MMA he is. His wrestling style when he gets to MMA is going to translate well.”
“Gamebred” has never been afraid of a fight, and that’s likely never going to change, but after watching Nickal and sharing the mats with him, he is convinced that just about every fighter in the middleweight division should be.
Even without having MMA years under his belt, Nickal is equipped with a base level game, tangibles and intangibles to make careers of contenders a nightmare for years to come.
“I’ve trained with him, not just a handful of times, but a bunch of times, and I’ve seen him with other good competitors closer to his weight; good wrestlers and good MMA guys,” Masvidal said. “He’s different, man. What he does to guys is different. His endurance, his technique, it’s different and he’s already got some pop, as we saw. When you get a guy like that, he’s going to be scary. Forget about just watching fights; there’s not a lot of fights I’d fly out for, but I’ll be there live for this one.”
Don’t expect Nickal to be the last threat to your favorite champion’s career. Masvidal says that while talent like Bo Nickal’s doesn’t come around often, anytime it does, you can expect iKon FC to have their eye on them.
“I definitely want to put him in my shows because that’s the type of talent I’m trying to bring to the world,” Masvidal said. “We’re not in competition with the UFC, nor do we ever want to be, but there is a system to launch those guys to the UFC and to get the nation’s best and get them as much spotlight as possible. You can expect to see the world’s richest talent at those stages. Those up-and-coming guys are coming through my promotion, whether they come from amateur MMA backgrounds or have great wrestling.”
Catch Bo Nickal’s professional MMA debut at iKon FC 3, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!