Less than two days after earning a UFC contract, mixed martial arts prospect Bo Nickal has already booked his Octagon debut.
The UFC is finalizing a middleweight bout between Nickal (3-0) and Jamie Pickett (13-8) for UFC 282 on Dec. 10 in Las Vegas, officials told ESPN on Thursday. Nickal earned a contract with the UFC on Tuesday when he submitted Donovan Beard in just 52 seconds on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Nickal, a three-time NCAA national wrestling champion at Penn State, has been training MMA full time for less than two years. All three of the 26-year-old’s professional MMA bouts to date have ended in the first round; the longest lasted all of 62 seconds.
“Me and a lot of other people are excited to see the future this kid has,” White said.
Fighting out of American Top Team, Nickal actually called out UFC No. 3-ranked welterweight and budding superstar Khamzat Chimaev for his debut, but White quickly shot that notion down. Still, it shows Nickal’s level of confidence so early in his career.
Nickal told ESPN on Tuesday that he expects to be ranked the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world by July 2024.
Pickett, a 34-year-old from North Carolina, is also a Contender Series alum, although his path to the UFC came under less fanfare. He actually appeared on Contender Series three times between 2017 and 2020. Pickett lost his first two appearances before earning a contract with a win in 2020, and he has a 2-4 record in the UFC.
A main event has yet to be announced for UFC 282 at T-Mobile Arena.