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Bo Nickal making transition to MMA; plans to fight by the end of 2021

Bo Nickal is a guy who MMA fans have been keeping an eye on for sometime now.

Nickal first caught national attention in 2017 during his sophomore wrestling season at Penn State when he upset the then back-to-back national champion Gabe Dean of Cornell to win the national championship at 184 pounds.

The following year, Nickel found himself back in the national spotlight when he faced off with Myles Martin of Ohio State, who defeated Nickal to win the 2016 NCAA title at 174 pounds. In the highly anticipated 184 pound national final, Nickal capped off his undefeated season by securing a highlight reel pin fall victory in the first period.

Finally in his last season, Nickal moved up to 197 pounds where he once again went undefeated and won his third straight NCAA title. Following the season he was given the Hodge trophy, which is awarded to the nation’s most outstanding wrestler.

After an outstanding career at Penn State, Nickal was attempting to make the 2020 Olympics, which due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was pushed back to this year. Nickal would come up short on his Olympic bid after losing to fellow Penn State wrestling alum David Taylor in the finals of the Olympic trials. Taylor would go on to win a gold medal in Toyko.

During his preparation to try and make the Olympics, Nickal was dabbling in MMA and even helped UFC BMF champion Jorge Masvidal prepare for his two welterweight championship fights with Kamaru Usman.

Now Nickal will no longer be dabbling in the sport as he is fully transitioning over to a full time fighter.

On Saturday, American Top Team opened a new facility on the outskirts of Penn State where Nickal will serve as the wrestling coach of American Top Team Happy Valley. At the gym’s grand opening, Nickal told MyMMANews that he will transition to MMA and plans to start fighting as an amateur this year before turning pro in 2022. His home base will be at ATT Happy Valley, but he will still make trips down to the gyms home base in Florida.

Aside from sharing the news of transitioning into MMA, Nickal also talked about his former Penn State and now American Top Team teammate Cody Law, working with Masvidal, his new gym and wrestling under the legendary Cael Sanderson.

You watch Nickal’s full interview in the video above.

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