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Bo Nickal says UFC 290’s version of himself ‘is the worst that I’ll be moving forward’

LAS VEGAS – Bo Nickal beat Val Woodburn with a first-round TKO Saturday to open the main card at UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Take a look inside the fight with Nickal, who stayed unbeaten and kept his perfect first-round finish rate intact.

Bo Nickal vs. Val Woodburn

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Result: Bo Nickal def. Val Woodburn via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:38
Updated records: Nickal (5-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Woodburn (7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Key stats: Nickal’s 38-second finish was his fastest since a 33-second TKO in his pro debut 13 months ago.

Nickal on the fight's key moment

“It felt good (to get a knockout). I’m just proud to represent (American Top Team) in a positive way. The adrenaline is incredible. There’s nothing like MMA. There’s no sport in the world that can compare, in my opinion, and just how free it is and how much you can do. Every time I get to go out and compete, I’m so grateful for the opportunity. The rush is undeniable, so I want to do that as much as I can in my life.”

Nickal on staying true to his wrestling roots

Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bo Nickal (red gloves) fights Val Woodburn (blue gloves) during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bo Nickal (red gloves) fights Val Woodburn (blue gloves) during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“A big part of that is where I live and train. I live and train in State College, Pa., and I’m in the Penn State (University) wrestling room almost every day. I’m training with the best wrestlers in the entire world – Olympic gold medalists, national champions, the list goes on and on.

“I’ll always stay true to my roots. Of course I’m going to develop these other skills because I treat every single martial art – whether it’s boxing, muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, wrestling – with the same amount of respect and the same amount of reverence. By the end of my career – I already have world-class wrestling. I’m going to have world-class boxing. I’m going to have world-class jiu-jitsu. I’m going to have world-class muay Thai. And I’m going to compete on a world-class level in any of those disciplines individually, and obviously in MMA, as well.”

Nickal on what he wants next

Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bo Nickal (red gloves) reacts to defeating Val Woodburn (blue gloves) during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Bo Nickal (red gloves) reacts to defeating Val Woodburn (blue gloves) during UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

“I’m just fresh off this win. This is all I’ve been focused on for the past while. As far as scheduling goes, I’m going to take a couple days, hang out with my wife, talk with my management team and coaches, and see where we go from there.

“I’ll get back with my team next week – my management team, First Round Management, my coaches at American Top Team – and we’ll discuss. I think I develop a ton every single camp. We’ll see what’s next for me. I believe I can beat anybody in the world with my skill set and I’m going to continue to improve right now. Today is the worst that I’ll be moving forward. We’ll sit down and make a decision.”

To hear more from Nickal, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 290.

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Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie