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Penn State Wrestling

Bo Nickal Might Not Fight Again in 2023

Bo Nickal
Photo courtesy of Lexi Nickal, Bo’s sister.

Bo Nickal has a lot going on.

Professionally, the Penn State wrestling great has launched his UFC career, improving to 2-0 Saturday  by knocking out Val Woodburn.

Nickal’s personal life seems to be going even better.

In his post-fight interview, Nickal hinted to Joe Rogan that he was expecting his first child. Less than 48 hours later, he and his wife, Maddie— who herself was a great athlete at Penn State, having been a three-time All-American in Track & Field— confirmed the news on Instagram. The Nickals have a baby boy on the way.

Nickal plans on becoming a UFC champion one day, but fans who want to see him fight again might have to wait awhile.

The three-time NCAA wrestling national champion told the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani that there’s a chance he won’t fight again in 2023.

“There’s a chance (I don’t fight again this year), Nickal said.

Nickal went on to explain that, although he feels he “could fight next week,” he’s focused on his long-term goals.

“Everything that I’m training for and preparing for is my 10th title defense down the road,” he said. “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.”

Nickal understands that another fight, say, late this fall, would help keep his hype train going.

But he’s not too worried about that.

“That’s honestly to be pretty irrelevant,” he said. I don’t care about hype or how many people are talking about me. I’m just here to fight.”

Nickal noted his wife’s pregnancy and his desire to be there for her. An avid outdoorsman, Nickal also said he has multiple hunting trips planned in September. Nickal plans on going to Alaska, Colorado and New Mexico.

Although Nickal said it’s “definitely possible that I fight again this year,” he pointed out that he’s fought five times since making his pro debut last June.

“Which is quite a few,” he said. “So I definitely want to just continue to get better and develop and improve. So we’ll see what makes sense.”

In short, Bo Nickal doesn’t want to rush anything.

“I’m 27,” he said. “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.”

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