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Bo Nickal has big plans for eventual clash with Khamzat Chimaev

Bo Nickal undoubtedly will have a lot of options waiting as one of the most talked-about fighters on the entire UFC roster. But a future showdown against Khamzat Chimaev might just sit at the top of the wish list.

Despite only having five professional fights on his resume — and only two in the UFC including his stunning 38 second knockout this past weekend at UFC 290 — the three-time NCAA champion wrestler has already heard all kinds of fantasy matchmaking.

Even with Israel Adesanya as the reigning champion at 185 pounds, Nickal admits he’s constantly bombarded with questions about fighting Chimaev.

“I think everybody wants to see me fight Khamzat,” Nickal said on The MMA Hour. “I want to fight Khamzat, but I think we need to build more.

“He hasn’t fought in a long time. I think his last fight was [Kevin] Holland. He smashed Kevin Holland up almost a year ago and I would like to see him maybe fight at [middleweight], I’ll get a couple more fights in.”

It has been a long absence for Chimaev, who dispatched Holland in impressive fashion this past September. But that fight only came together after the undefeated Chechen failed to make weight, which forced a last second change of opponents after he was originally scheduled to clash with Nate Diaz.

Since then, Chimaev has flirted with a potential fight against ex-UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, teasing his move up to middleweight. Right now, all signs point toward Chimaev returning at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in October, though he hasn’t actually booked a fight yet.

As much as Nickal anticipates an eventual fight with Chimaev, he believes that’s the kind of matchup that deserves special attention, and that requires time and patience.

“My goal with Khamzat has been Allegiant Stadium [in Las Vegas], sell it out for the belt and blow the roof off that place when I smash that guy,” Nickal said. “It’s going to take a little more to build my reputation and get to where I want to be and for him to get to where he needs to be to make that fight what it deserves. To give it the atmosphere it deserves.”

More than anything, Nickal believes when he finally does clash with Chimaev that it should be a battle between the two best middleweights in the world with a UFC title going up for grabs.

That will only raise the stakes for a fight of that magnitude, which is exactly what Nickal wants for his career.

“If it’s for the belt, that could be the biggest fight but as of now, neither of us are the champ or even fighting for the belt,” Nickal said. “So I think that’s a fight that should be for the title. Not the interim title, the ‘BMF’ or anything like that. The actual 185 [pound] UFC belt, undisputed.”

As much as he wants that fight, Nickal is also quick to note his end goal isn’t Chimaev. Before it’s all said and done, he knows he’ll have a lot of marquee fights in the UFC, and Chimaev will just be one more name on the list.

“To me, that’s a fight that I’ve got on my mind but I don’t really see any specific fight as this is the biggest fight of my career,” Nickal said. “I’m going to be myself and perform the same regardless of who I compete against. That’s definitely a fight I think about, but there will probably be bigger fights down the line.”

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