Phil Hawes is interested in a potential fight against Bo Nickal.
Hawes returns to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Allen, where he squares off with Roman Dolidze on Oct. 29 at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Speaking to Danny Segura of MMA Junkie recently, ‘No Hype’ expects a first-round KO of Dolidze after connecting with one of his ‘heat-seeking bombs.’ And after that, he wants to see Nickal across from him.
“I’ve got work to do on the 29th, but Bo Nickal — take me out to dinner, baby,” said Hawes. “What’s up? I’m ready. I’m ready for Bo. If he wants to get it, let’s get it.
Nickal signed with the UFC following his second successful appearance on Contender Series, where he needed 52 seconds to submit Donovan Beard with a triangle choke in September. Though 3-0 as a professional, the three-time NCAA Division I National champion has been hailed as a future UFC champion, with some believing he can beat the upper echelon of the middleweight division right now.
Others, however, wonder how Nickal fares against fighters who may have the wherewithal to deal with his wrestling. Hawes offers to test him in that regard.
“Of course, he’s an elite-level wrestler and that holds a lot of weight,” said Hawes. “But when someone is jabbing you up and someone is not afraid to get taken down, it’s a different ball game. We’re not wrestling anymore. You see some of the best wrestlers come over and they don’t do as well. But you see some who doesn’t have a great pedigree of wrestling do amazing.
“Like Demetrious Johnson — how many times did he take down Henry Cejudo? And Cejudo is an Olympic champion. Who took down [Daniel Cormier]? [Jon] Jones took him down, and Jones is only a college JUCO national champion like myself. So wrestling does play a big factor, but we’re fighting. This ain’t wrestling. So I can’t wait to put hands on him.”
Before that can happen, Nickal has to get through his first UFC appearance. The American Top Team (ATT) star debuts against Jamie Pickett at UFC 282 in December.