Nickal is one of the most talked about prospects in recent UFC history after a collegiate wrestling career at Penn State that resulted in multiple national titles. He made a splash in his professional MMA debut earlier this year with a first-round knockout over John Noland at iKON FC 3.
Nickal earned the main event slot on Dana White‘s Contender Series and didn’t take long to finish Zach Borrego in the Octagon. Just a minute into the fight, he quickly got a hold of Borrego’s back and sunk in a rear-naked choke for the victory.
Nickal proved that the hype behind his UFC potential may be real, and his management took it to the next level by comparing him to an all-time great.
Bo Nickal Gets Jon Jones Comparison Following Impressive DWCS Win
During a recent appearance on The Ringer MMA Show, Kawa gave Nickal high praise just two fights into his professional career.
“I don’t think that he’s going to be Khamzat. I think he can be what Jon Jones was supposed to be,” Kawa said of Nickal. “That’s how good I think he could be. Listen, you got yourself an American, good-looking, clean-cut guy that is one thousand percent committed to the sport. And he’s got this aura to him, where you watch and you’re like ‘What? You’re 1-0 and you want to be the greatest of all-time?’ I expect Bo Nickal to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter when his time comes, and I expect his gym to be what Jackson’s gym was seven, eight, nine years ago.”
An interesting element to this take on Nickal is the fact that Kawa is Jones’ former manager. The two sides parted ways amidst Jones’ contract dispute for the promotion, including his alleged desire for a lucrative paycheck to face Francis Ngannou.
Jones has had a series of legal issues away from the Octagon in recent years, including most recently in Las Vegas after an alleged domestic violence incident with his then-fiancee. A domestic battery charge was dropped but was ordered to pay a $750 fine for damaging a police vehicle.
UFC President Dana White was impressed by Nickal’s performance but opted to give him another fight on Contender Series before moving him to the UFC roster. This prompted a fruitful debate about whether or not White’s decision not to move the once-in-a-generation prospect up to the big leagues.
Jones hasn’t fought in the UFC in more than two years following his vacation of the light heavyweight title for a move to heavyweight. He’s expected to make his heavyweight debut by the end of the year.
Similar to Nickal, Jones made the full-time move to MMA after a collegiate wrestling career, although it wasn’t nearly to the notoriety of Nickal. He went on to become the UFC’s youngest-ever champion by defeating Shogun Rua at UFC 128.
The sky may be the limit for Nickal’s UFC tenure and he’s already drawing comparisons to arguably the greatest fighter to ever enter the Octagon. His next few performances could give fans and pundits more of an idea if those early comparisons are warranted.
What are your thoughts on Bo Nickal’s UFC potential?