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A Slow Play Takes Bo Nickal From Great To G.O.A.T. | UFC FIGHT PASS

StaleMates founder Zach Bogle Sees Bo Nickal Becoming The Greatest Middleweight Of All Time With The Proper Handling After Ikon FC 3

Zach Bogle of the StaleMates podcast has seen, dissected and reported stories about the biggest names in NCAA wrestling for years and cautions everybody in the middleweight division that Bo Nickal is for real.

It’s hard to bring up Nickal without mentioning his viral matches, viral interviews and one of the most famous moments of all-time against Myles Martin in the 2018 NCAA National championship. In many ways, he’ll go down as one of the greatest wrestlers in the lifetime of the fans in the stands that day.

Whoever he took on in wrestling was running the risk of being another viral moment in the endless highlight reel of the three-time National champion. When he made his amateur MMA debut, his opponent wasn’t ready, the fans weren’t ready and from what Bogle saw, it didn’t even look like the promoter was ready.

“He fought his first fight in a boxing ring and almost double-legged a guy through the ropes,” Bogle laughed. “I remember before that match even happened, I was like, ‘This is so dumb that they’re doing this in a boxing ring for Bo because of how explosive and athletic Bo is; he’s going to go through the ropes.’ Sure enough, he pretty much did.”

Bogle witnessed exactly what he expected to see in both of Nickal’s amateur fights. It was such predictable dominance that he was scratching his head at Nickal’s amateur status to begin with.

“He’s definitely better than the amateurs,” Bogle said. “It’s kind of surprising that he even went into amateur to start with, but I don’t always know what goes into those decisions. I think he’s ready. He knocked somebody out on his feet and he’s obviously a good wrestler, so I don’t know what else there is to wait for if you’re him.”

While Bogle does have problems with Nickal staying in the amateurs any longer, he’s one of the few out there who’s pumping the brakes on the “take him straight to the Octagon” talk. There’s an over-abundance of potential in Nickal, but it might be a little too soon to douse the flame by jumping the gun.

“If I’m playing Dana White or Sean Shelby, I want to see how he reacts to getting hit,” Bogle said. “Two amateur fights really doesn’t mean anything at this point. It’s a win that he got one on his feet, and I think so far everything’s been great, but it depends if he can take a hit. At some point he’s going to reach a guy who’s as talented on the feet as he is in wrestling and we’ll see what happens then.”

Bogle envisions that playing the long game might not be as financially beneficial for Nickal in the early stages of his career but could result in him becoming the most dominant champion in the history of the division.

There’s no need for a three- to five-year head start in the regional circuit, but a few pro fights could make all the difference in the world in preparing him for the bright lights.

“You look at who the champ is at middleweight, Izzy (Adesanya) went up to try and fight Jan Blachowicz at 205 and he got laid on pretty much the whole fight,” Bogle said. “Somebody like Bo is a way better wrestler than Jan Blachowicz, so I think Jan found a weakness in wrestling on Izzy. I know he’s a lot bigger, but Bo is a lot better at wrestling.”

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Should Nickal find himself in the UFC, Bogle says that there’s plenty of reason to put stock in the sure-fire Penn State Mount Rushmore face. It’s more than just his National Championships and it’s more than just his Hodge Trophy. Bo Nickal’s got it all.

“I think he’s got the right team around him, and I know they’ve got that gym up at Penn State, American Top Team. I know being there is going to keep him surrounded by that wrestling culture,” Bogle said. “I think the style of wrestling he’ll have in the Octagon is one that is for inflicting a lot of damage, not just holding somebody down. I think you’ll see him be able to put together both disciplines pretty early. I think if he does end up abandoning his wrestling it would be a travesty. That’s what led him here and he’s not a ‘boring wrestler.’ He’s not just going to hold you there; he’s going to double leg you and slam you and do all these exciting things. He’s one of my favorite Nittany Lions of all time.”

The journey for Nickal begins June 3 at iKon FC, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!