Bo Nickal Says He Might Not Fight Again This Year

Bo Nickal started off the 2nd half of 2023 in style at UFC 290 on Saturday night with a 38 second TKO victory over late-replacement Val Woodburn, but he says that might be the last time we see him competing in the Octagon this year.

“There’s a chance [I don’t fight again this year],” Nickal stated on The MMA Hour. “I could easily fight two more times. I could fight next week if I wanted, but for me, everything that I’m training for and preparing for is my 10th title defense down the road. I’m not preparing for my next fight. That’s my mindset always, so I’m going to do what prepares me best for 10 title defenses.

“Of course, the more I fight with less time in between fights, the bigger the hype grows and stuff. But that’s honestly to me pretty irrelevant. I don’t care about hype, or how much people are talking about me. I’m just here to fight.”

The 27-year-old former amateur wrestling stand-out has made a dream start to his MMA career, racking up a 5-0 record in the space of a little over the year, with all his victories ending swiftly inside the first round, but now it seems he’s looking to take a break from his hectic fight schedule.

“Like I announced, my wife is pregnant, and I want to make sure I’m there for her,” Nickal noted. “I also have in September a bunch of hunting trips planned. I’m going to be in New Mexico, I’ll be in Alaska, I’ll be in Colorado, and I’m running all around. We’ll see.

“It’s definitely possible that I fight again this year but I’m going to be in the gym getting better. I’ve had five fights in the past 13 months, which is quite a few, so I definitely want to just continue to get better and develop and improve. So we’ll see what makes sense.”

No doubt the UFC will be eager to see the rising star back in action sooner than later, but Nickal doesn’t see the need to rush things and is very confident that he’ll become a champion when the time is right.

“I’m not in a rush,” Nickal said. “We’ll get there. We’ll get to where I want to be in due time. For me, I’m 27, I’ve probably got another eight years of prime fighting. Even up to 35, I think I’ll still be in my prime, because of my discipline, and my work ethic, and my commitment inside the cage and outside. I’ve got a long time to keep competing. So for me, it’s no rush. I’m 5-0. Whoever the UFC gives me, whoever Dana [White] and Hunter [Campbell] decide that makes sense for me to fight then I’m ready to go. But I’ll get the belt and achieve my goals in due time. Right now, I’m not in a rush.

“I could be fighting a ranked opponent by [International Fight Week 2024] but it’s interesting because once I fight a ranked guy and finish that guy in the first round, then it’s like the rocket ship is all the way up to the top quick.”

So amid all the hype it seems that Nickal is looking for a sensible, controlled progression in his career, but it should be noted that in the longer term his goals are still sky-high.

“I’m here to go down as one of the greatest of all time and end my career as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” Nickal continued. “Everything else, in regards to social media hype, really means nothing to me.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.