Bo Nickal has said he’s the best wrestler ever to enter MMA. The Penn State legend didn’t need long to begin testing his theory.
Nickal, a three-time NCAA wrestling champ, won his first professional bout by knockout Friday at Jorge Masvidal’s iKon Fighting Championship event in Richmond.
Nickal dropped John Noland in the first round of his first middleweight bout. The bout was streamed on UFC Fight Pass.
Nickal bought a 2-0 amateur MMA record to his professional debut, which followed a decorated wrestling career. But after the most recently Olympic cycle ended, Nickal said he was ready to channel his energy elsewhere.
“I’m 26 years old and I stopped wrestling at 25,” Nickal told MMA Fighting in a recent interview. “To stop that early, I had to lose a little bit of myself but I knew moving into the sport of MMA was what I was being drawn to and what I was more passionate about.”
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Nickal’s foray into MMA comes a little over a year after his historic U.S. Olympic Trials bout against fellow former Nittany Lion David Taylor. Taylor and Nickal met last year in the 86 kg freestyle final at the 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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