“The wrestlers are technically there, but I think the bigger names like Bo Nickal, who made it all the way to the Olympic finals, those guys like to keep competing in wrestling,” said Zach Bogle of the StaleMates podcast.
Nickal agrees the pit is pretty dry, but with his impact and the others from Happy Valley right behind him, the MMA world is on the verge of a navy blue takeover.
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“We have a pipeline of guys at Penn State, all multiple-time national champions and All-Americans, guys like that who are ready to transition and fight, so I don’t think I’ll be the last,” he said. Nick said.
There is a lot of pressure on Nickal if he is, in fact, the reintroduction of star wrestlers entering MMA but, as he always does, he finds more reason to be excited than nervous.
“I feel like a pioneer,” Nickal said. “I feel like the first, like a guy who is really going to make the jump to MMA at the start of his wrestling career. I think the guys who did that are Daniel Cormier, Ben Askren and Henry Cejudo, even though he didn’t really have a career in the NCAA. In my opinion, these guys were some of the best fighters to have competed in the last 20 years. For me, it feels like starting this new era of NCAA wrestlers coming in and dominating.
Will Nickal lead the charge and pave the way for big-name NCAA wrestlers to flourish again in the UFC? The climb to the top begins June 3, ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!