Bo Nickal does not rate Khamzat Chimaev’s wrestling very highly.
Although Chimaev has looked unstoppable with his grappling throughout his MMA career, multiple-time NCAA Division-I wrestling champion Nickal was rather critical of his skills.
“It’s trash,” Nickal said in an interview with Clash of Combat. “I wouldn’t even say mid-(level).”
Nickal (5-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) has called Chimaev out on multiple occasions, and thinks a future showdown is inevitable. An unbeaten rising star himself, Nickal continued his tear through the middleweight division when he needed just 38 seconds to knock Val Woodburn out at UFC 290.
“At the end of the day, I feel like I can say whatever about his wrestling skills, his fighting skills, this and that, we’re going to fight at some point and people will realize there’s levels,” Nickal said. “It’s just so funny, you go into a world of MMA where there’s no other sport where people know less and think they know more.”
Chimaev (12-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) returns to middleweight to take on former title challenger Paulo Costa (14-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 294 on Oct. 21 at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Nickal picks Chimaev to win, but wonders how he will deal with Costa’s size.
“I think it’s going to be a good fight,” Nickal said. “Probably – I think he probably will. It’s definitely a different ball game when you go from 170 to 185. We’re talking about a different size human being.”
Because Chimaev has made 170 pounds on numerous occasions, Nickal thinks he’d be too much for Chimaev.
“We’ll see how he does,” Nickal continued. “He’s obviously a big ’70, but it’s a different size human, and to me, anybody who can make 170, none of those dudes are going to be competitive with me. Costa is a different story, I’m going to watch the fight, so we’ll see how he does.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 294.
Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie