Huge NCAA wrestling fan Anthony Smith explains why he’s not buying the hype around Bo Nickal: “He wasn’t good enough to make an Olympic team”

By Fernando Quiles - August 14, 2022

UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith doesn’t get the hype surrounding Bo Nickal.

Anthony Smith Bo Nickal

Nickal has made the transition from collegiate wrestling to pro MMA. He’s off to a 2-0 start and scored a first-round submission finish over Zachary Borrego on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”

The UFC boss didn’t offer Nickal a UFC contract, however. Instead, he invited Nickal to return for another tryout given his inexperience in MMA. If Nickal impresses again, he may be able to at least snag a developmental contract of sorts.

While some are already on the Bo Nickal hype train, Anthony Smith is not. Smith explained to Michael Bisping why he isn’t exactly betting the house that Nickal will have success in MMA (h/t SportsKeeda).

“I’m a huge NCAA wrestling fan, so I’m very familiar with Bo Nickal for sure. I wouldn’t go that far. Coming into MMA for sure, but the reason Bo Nickal is in MMA is because he wasn’t good enough to make an Olympic team.

“I don’t mean it like that. Just the guys ahead of him in the two weight classes, he just can’t beat those two guys. We’re talking Olympic medalists, world-class, some of the best wrestlers to come out of America, or to ever step on a mat in the world. So I’m not discrediting him, [but] he can’t beat those guys.”

Nickal is just 26 years old, so time is on his side. Whether or not he can string it all together to become a force in MMA remains to be seen.

For now, he will have to prove himself before he gets to put pen to paper with the UFC. Bisping offered the following piece of advice to Nickal (h/t MMAFighting).

“Listen, he’s chasing the money, and rightly so,” Bisping said. “Bit of caution, though. Just because you can wrestle, just because you’re doing that on the Contender [Series] doesn’t mean you can come in here and beat the best fighters in the world.

“I’ve trained with many a great wrestler, guys almost as accomplished as him, and against the fence, it’s a different world. Of course, the man’s going to have a sensational career. But slow your roll a little bit, buddy.

“You’re having that developmental contract just yet, but nevertheless, congratulations, that was sensational.”

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM


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