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From the moment that former Penn State wrestling standout Bo Nickal arrived in the UFC, already with a reputation as one of the sport’s top grapplers, he has been linked to a bout with another of the sport’s foremost wrestlers, Khamzat Chimaev. 

The two fighters, both undefeated and now both active middleweights following Chimaev’s move north from 170-pounds, appear to be on a collision course at some point in the next year or two. The possible fight has been hailed as a stylistic dream, pitting Nickal’s American wrestling prowess against the Russian wrestling infrastructure from which Chimaev was forged.

But if and when the two throw down, Nickal says that he is more than equipped to deal with whatever Chimaev hurls at him.

“Positively, he’s got great grappling, he likes to overwhelm guys, he’s definitely very strong, very aggressive. Also saw a few holes and a few areas where [Kamaru] Usman kind of took advantage of him,” Nickal told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour of Chimaev’s recent win over the former UFC welterweight champion.

“He’s a tough guy, of course,” Nickal added of Chimaev. “When you have a guy like Kamaru Usman, who is one of the all-time greats at his weight class, he was a champion, defended the belt multiple times, good wrestling base, and he is able to take him down and control him like what he did in the first round, I think there’s a lot to be said for that.

“But at the same time, I believe in myself and I think my skills match up very well against him. I feel like that’s a fight that I win.”

Should the fight with Chimaev become a reality, it is likely that we’d still be at least 18 or so months away from it. Nickal takes on his sixth professional bout in April’s UFC 300, where he fights Cody Brundage.

Chimaev, meanwhile, remains without a fight on the horizon following his unanimous decision victory against Usman in October.