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"The reason Bo Nickal is in MMA is because he wasn't good enough to make an Olympic team" - NCAA fan Anthony Smith not buying into the "best wrestler" hype train

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Anthony Smith (L) and Bo Nickal (R) [Image credits: Getty Images and mmafighting.com]
Anthony Smith (L) and Bo Nickal (R) [Image credits: Getty Images and mmafighting.com]

Bo Nickal's debut in Dana White's Contender Series had UFC fans excited to see more of the wrestling prodigy. However, light heavyweight Anthony Smith isn't sold on the idea of him being the best wrestler in the UFC.

Speaking with Michael Bisping on the Michael Bisping Podcast, Smith was questioned about Nickal and his performance in his second professional MMA bout. Smith responded that the American's foray into MMA was driven by one particular reason:

"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."

'Lionheart' then clarified his statement:

"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 discreditng him, [but] he can't beat those guys."

He explained that despite Nickal being an excellent wrestler, he couldn't contend with the quality of Olympian wrestlers.

Catch Anthony Smith's full comments on the Michael Bisping Podcast here:

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Bo Nickal will fight Donovan Beard next on September 27

Nickal's DWCS fight took just over a minute to secure a rear-naked choke victory against Zachary Borrego. His performance earned him a developmental contract with the UFC, as Dana White wasn't quite ready to commit to a fighter with a minimal track record.

'The Allen Assassin' stated that the fight was what he expected before outlining his lofty goals coming in to the UFC:

"It's what I expected. I'm 2-0 now, you know. Early in my career. At the end of the day, I'm not here to get a UFC contract — I'm here to be UFC champion and Bo.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So, that's what's on the horizon for me. Yeah, would love to get the contract, and that'll be a step in my career but at the end of the day I'm gonna be all the way on the top of the mountain."

Watch his interview with Laura Sanko on ESPN MMA:

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Nickal announced his return to Dana White's Contender Series against Donovan Beard on September 27. Beard is 7-1 as a professional, and Bo Nickal will hope to impress against the experienced fighter.

I’m back September 27th on Dana White & Bo Nickal’s Contender Series

Bo Nickal sounded off a warning to the middleweight division:

"Thank you for the shoutout @dc_mma you are exactly right every top 15 @ufc middleweight is on notice. Y’all best be training hard I want a challenge! See y’all soon."

Check out his tweet here:

Thank you for the shoutout @dc_mma you are exactly right every top 15 @ufc middleweight is on notice. Y’all best be training hard I want a challenge! See y’all soon.

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Edited by kennedyking2016
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