Jon Jones downplays run-in with Bo Nickal, gives prediction for his MMA future

LAS VEGAS – John Jones knows a thing or two about MMA wrestling, so probably has the right to speak with little authority about other wrestlers.

Few people do not consider an outstanding former collegiate wrestler Bo Nickal he has a great future in the sport and Jones is among those who celebrate him. Everyone has a monumental fight on their hands on Saturday at UFC 285so they will be forever bound by it.

Nikal (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), after a pair of Contender Series victories against Dana White, will make his UFC middleweight debut against Jamie Pickett (13-8 MMA, 2-4 UFC). He is the biggest favorite in card betting from -1900 to Typical bookmaker. This makes him one of the biggest favorites in UFC history from the start.

Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC) took the lead in a fight for the vacant heavyweight title against former interim champion Cyril Gein (11-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC). Jones will fight for the first time in over three years. The former longtime light heavyweight champion is the favorite to enter the history books as a two-weight champion.

At the media day of UFC 285 on Wednesday in Las Vegas, Jones said that Nikal’s media day comments about the impromptu wrestling match at the start of fight week were inaccurate.

“It was not a wrestling match,” Jones said. “Bo is young and ambitious and I’m sure he’s looking for an excuse to demote me. I will give him the opportunity if he wants it. But I am an old man with many tricks.

“We shook hands and got into a wrestling stance and I think he thought I was going to let go of his hand and he tried to grab my leg and I took his hand and just made him do a very awkward move. We both looked at each other and I just (said), “Now I have some tricks.” I don’t (go up to him and tell him I can take him off). I learned my lesson with (Daniel Cormier).”

With Jones now at heavyweight and Nikal at 185 pounds, a fight in the future seems unlikely, which could be another reason for Jones to take any talk of rivalry lightly.

Instead, he said that he thought it would be difficult for people in the UFC to deal with Nikal.

“I’m very happy for Bo Nikal – just an American wrestler,” Jones said. “He represents perseverance, hard work, and I can see how he will go very far in this sport. He already has one of the greatest martial arts, which I consider wrestling. We wrestlers can dictate the pace of the fight. Things get hard for us, we just take it to the ground. And we can also avoid falling and get back on our feet when we get into trouble, and Bo has that. I think he’s going to do amazing. I’m very glad to get to know him better.”

UFC 285 will take place on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view after prelims on ESPNews and early prelims on ESPN+.

To learn more about the card, visit the MMA Junkie event center to UFC 285.

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The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie.


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