In his mind, Bo Nickal had made the walk to the Octagon many times before.
This Saturday night, the three-time NCAA Division I national champion will do it for real when he makes his official debut as part of a stacked lineup at UFC 285. Welcoming him to combat sports’ grandest stage will be Jamie Pickett, a 13-8 fighter with eight of those victories coming by way of knockout.
Ahead of his highly anticipated debut, Bo Nickal addressed the media to answer questions about his mindset going into his big debut at the T-Mobile Arena and how he plans to handle the pressure of the moment through visualization.
“I think the important thing about visualization is making it really real, making it a really visceral experience,” Nickal told reporters during a pre-fight news conference. “I think there’s technique that goes into visualization, just like there’s technique that goes into fighting. For me, it’s making the experience as real as possible, imagining not only what I’ll see but what it’s going to sound like, what it’s going to smell like, what the concrete is going to feel like underneath my feet, what the cage is going to feel like under my feet, and just making it as real as possible for me.
“So when I go in there for the first time, it really won’t be the first time because I’ve imagined it so many times in my mind. That’s just a very powerful practice” (h/t MMA Junkie).
Bo Nickal Envisions Himself Competing in the Biggest Fight in UFC History
One vision that Bo Nickal hopes to make a reality is a fight with undefeated Chechen monster Khamzat Chimaev. Nickal envisions the “inevitable” showdown taking place in Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium with a packed crowd of 100,000 people there to see what he believes will be the biggest fight in UFC history.
“(Khamzat Chimaev) is probably the biggest, most hyped guy coming up right now that hasn’t won a belt yet. I think eventually, us clashing is inevitable. That’s something that I visualize in my training and when I’m in a hard workout, getting my last bike sprint in, getting my last rep in, in the weight room, I’m visualizing that.
“Whether that fight comes in a year, or three years, or five years, or whatever it is, I’ll be ready. I do a lot of visualization and I see that fight happening as a main event in Raiders’ Stadium in front of 100,0000 people. I think it would be the biggest fight in UFC history. Only time will tell whether or not we get that, but I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen.”
After dispatching Zack Borrego and Donovan Beard in back-to-back fights on Dana White‘s Contender Series, Bo Nickal expressed his desire to compete against Chimaev during an appearance on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast. Of course, Nickal has a long way to go before the UFC can justify giving him a crack at the No. 3 ranked welterweight contender. A decisive win on Saturday night would be the first step toward making that possibility a reality.
Are you interested in seeing Bo Nickal put his collegiate wrestling skills to the test against Khamzat Chimaev?