Nickal made quick work of Zach Borrego in his DWCS headliner on Tuesday night. He got Borrego’s back just seconds into the fight before sinking in a rear-naked choke for the win.
Nickal was making his second professional MMA appearance after a first-round knockout in his debut at iKON FC 3. He is a former NCAA wrestling champion at Penn State and is considered by many to be a once-in-a-generation talent.
Despite his performance, White gave Nickal a developmental contract, meaning he’ll need to earn another win on DWCS to join the UFC roster. This surprised many around the MMA community after his UFC fighting colleagues praised his skillset.
White explained the decision during his post-fight media availability.
“He’s 1-0, 2-0 now, fought a kid that was 3-0, made it look really easy,” White said. “Let’s get him one more fight and let’s test him. (If he) gets past that with flying colors, we bring him in and we give him a fight in the UFC.
“I think only one guy has come in at like 1-0 and did anything and I think it was Brock (Lesnar), and to be honest with you, I don’t remember. Brock was something like that. So, yeah, he’s a stud.”
White was then asked if Nickal could’ve done anything different to secure an immediate shot in the UFC.
“I don’t know what else he could have done to look any better,” White said. “He looked incredible. The only reason I didn’t sign him tonight is because he’s 2-0 now. … We got eight more weeks of this. Why not have him fight here again, you know what I mean? It just makes sense.”
Bo Nickal Isn’t Surprised By Getting Second Look From UFC
On the other hand, Nickal expected to get a second tryout with the UFC even before his win over Borrego.
During his DWCS post-fight press conference, Nickal seemed relatively unbothered about not getting a contract.
“It’s all good,” Nickal answered. “I’m just excited. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to compete, so getting out there unscathed, another ‘dub,’ and I’ll get to fight soon – so all good. And I’ve said this a few times already, but the goal is not to be a UFC fighter.
“I’m here to be UFC champ (and) be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So I’m 2-0. I’ve had a total of a minute-and-a-half of professional MMA competition, so let’s get another one in there. I don’t really care if it’s on Contender Series, in the UFC, whatever. I just want to fight.”
After taking little damage in his win over Borrego, UFC fans could expect another appearance from Nickal sooner rather than later. Two months are left in the DWCS season and Nickal could get booked again in the coming weeks.
Did Dana White make the right decision to not sign Bo Nickal?