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‘It’s Just a Good Lesson’


Just three bouts into his
Ultimate Fighting Championship tenure, Bo Nickal has
already set a pretty high bar.

That’s probably why his second-round submission of Cody
Brundage in his third outing at UFC
300 was met with a collective shrug from the MMA community.
After all, Nickal’s first five professional appearances all ended
inside of a round. For whatever it’s worth, the former NCAA
national champion wrestler wasn’t too impressed with his
performance, either.

“I feel good, but it’s definitely mixed emotions because I felt
like I could have performed better,” Nickal said in a backstage
interview with the UFC. “I don’t judge based on wins and losses, I
judge based on how I feel I performed. i could have done a lot
better in certain areas. Given the time off, I was a little too
amped up. And given the fact that I finished everybody pretty fast,
I was trying to knock the guy out. So it’s just a good lesson and
stuff that I’ll be appreciative of moving forward. It’s only going
to help me in the future.”

In the immediate aftermath of his latest victory, Nickal gave
himself a “thumbs down” in the Octagon. However, he revealed that
he did receive some encouraging words from UFC CEO Dana White, who
was seated cageside.

“He told me to keep my head up and keep doing what I’m doing and
I’m going to be a big star,” Nickal said. “To hear that from him, I
was really appreciative of it. I think he knows better than anybody
the way this sport works and the way guys develop and improve and
what they become.”

After earning a pair of first-round finishes on Dana White’s
Contender Series, Nickal has vanquished Brundage, Valentine
Woodburn and Jamie
Pickett in UFC competition. While Brundage had the edge in
experience, Nickal would have preferred to put his opponent away in
more dominant fashion.

“That’s just the way I work and how my mind has always been. For
me, going out and getting a win or even get a finish, that’s not
what I’m looking to do. I’m looking to dominate every second of the
fight,” he said. “I don’t think I did that. Thete’s a lot that I
could have done better. It’s just back to the drawing board.”

With that being said, Nickal is accustomed to managing
expectations. His own are high enough, so he isn’t concerned with
those on the outside.

“I’m doing this because I love it, because I enjoy it. I’m
obviously very good at it, I’m passionate about it. It’s fun. I
just focus on all those things,” Nickal said. “The expecations of
other people, they don’t motivate me any more, they don’t motivate
me any less. It’s just part of life.”

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