The massively hyped prospect is coming off a dominant finish over Donovan Beard in his most recent outing at “Dana White’s Contender Series” last week. Nickal made a quick turnaround for the second showing under the DWCS banner after beating Zachary Borrego in August. He came off firing from the get-go and earned a submission victory within the opening minute of the bout.
Having made his professional debut four months ago in June, Nickal is yet to go past the first round as he defeated all his opponents in about a minute.
Company president Dana White was convinced after Nickal’s performance and handed him a much-deserved UFC contract. Nickal did not take too long to book his first fight under in the promotion and got paired up with Jamie Pickett, a fellow DWCS entrant, for UFC 282 in December.
In an appearance on “The MMA Hour,” Nickal talked about the possibility of being placed on the preliminary card as opposed to the main card for his debut.
“Do I look like, am I a prelim guy? I’m not a prelim guy. If I have to fight on the prelims, I’ll just retire, I’m done,” Nickal said.
Nickal Believes UFC Will Have Him on the Main Card
Nickal, a three-time NCAA Division I National Champion, is one of the most decorated wrestlers to transition into professional mixed martial arts. He made his way into the UFC through Jorge Masvidal’s iKon Fighting Championship (featured on UFC Fight Pass), where it took him 33 seconds to get a knockout on his debut.
For his nearing fight with Pickett, he’s banking on the promotion to get him the right booking on the card, considering what he has been able to do.
“I don’t know if it’s in the contract, but they’ll do the right thing, they’ll do the smart thing and if I’m not, like I said, if I’m on the prelims, I’ll retire. I’m out… I’ve seen them do it before, put a bigger fight on the prelim, but I just, I don’t know. I’m a main card guy, it just doesn’t make sense.
“It’s Dana White’s Contender Series again, but I’m main eventing Dana White’s Contender Series at 2-0. Every fight I’m in is the main event. So, they’re putting me on the main card.”
Nickal Received Support From UFC Superstars Before Joining
Nickal made headlines after the impressive win, with fellow American Top Team (ATT) standouts such as head coach Mike Brown, former UFC interim lightweight champion Dustin Poirier, and Masvidal backing him to become a ‘future world champion.’
Before Nickal’s first appearance on UFC Fight Pass, Masvidal heaped praises on his teammate and gave his take on Nickal’s potential in MMA.
“I’ve trained with him, not just a handful of times, but a bunch of times, and I’ve seen him with other good competitors closer to his weight; good wrestlers and good MMA guys,” Masvidal said. “He’s different, man. What he does to guys is different. His endurance, his technique, it’s different and he’s already got some pop, as we saw. When you get a guy like that, he’s going to be scary. Forget about just watching fights; there’s not a lot of fights I’d fly out for, but I’ll be there live for this one.”