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'He's a Stud.' Bo Nickal Is Ready to Crash UFC

Nickal has dominated his first two professional MMA bouts. Up next: a second fight in Dana White's Contender Series.

After Bo Nickal won his second professional MMA bout in 62 seconds, Dana White suggested that the Penn State wrestling legend has a promising future.

"He's a stud," White said Tuesday.

Nickal, the Nittany Lions' three-time NCAA wrestling champ, continued his MMA career with a big victory in Dana White's Contender Series in Las Vegas. Nickal headlined Week 3 of the series, using a choke to score a submission victory over Zachary Borrego in just 1:02. Nickal's first two professional bouts haven't even lasted a round.

According to UFC, Nickal earned a return invitation to UFC APEX "just to make sure the ultra-talented prospect is in fact ready to compete on the biggest stage in the sport." White added that it's too early to consider Nickal a UFC challenger but made an interesting comparison.

"[Nickal] made it look really easy," White said. "Give him one more fight, and let's test him. If he gets past that with flying colors, we bring him and give him a fight in UFC.

"I think only one guy has ever come in 1-0 and did anything, I think it was Brock [Lesnar], to be honest with you. ... So yeah, he's a stud. We've still got [nine] weeks of the Contender [series]. Let's give him another Contender fight."

Nickal made his professional MMA debut in June with a 33-second knockout to earn the Contender Series invitation. He has generated significant early buzz and was a huge favorite in Tuesday's bout. Even Las Vegas Raiders defensive Maxx Crosby is on board.

Before the fight, Nickal told MMA Junkie that he wants to be the world's No. 1 pound-for-pound MMA fighter.

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"That’s always been the goal for me, the dream for me, and I’m just excited to kind of start this off with Dana White’s Contender Series and just have my first taste of what it’s like to be a fighter in the UFC," Nickal told MMA Junkie.

Nickal finished his Penn State wrestling career with a 120-3 record, which includes 59 falls. He went 19-1 at the NCAA tournament, placing second at 184 pounds in 2016. Nickal then won NCAA titles from 2017-19 and claimed the Hodge Award, wrestling's Heisman Trophy, in 2019.

Nickal shifted to MMA a little over a year after his historic U.S. Olympic Trials bout against fellow former Nittany Lion David Taylor. Taylor and Nickal met in the 86 kg freestyle final at the 2020 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials.

Taylor swept the best-of-three series to earn a trip to the Tokyo Games, where he became the first Penn State wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal.

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