Nickal (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has taken the MMA world by storm with just three professional bouts to his name. The standout wrestler is not short on confidence and already has called out top unbeaten contender Khamzat Chimaev.
But Hawes (12-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who meets Roman Dolidze at UFC Fight Night 213 on Oct. 29, is game to put Nickal to the test.
“I’ve got work to do on the 29th, but Bo Nickal – take me out to dinner, baby. What’s up? I’m ready,” Hawes told MMA Junkie at Kill Cliff Fight Club. “I’m ready for Bo. If he wants to get it, let’s get it.”
Despite Nickal’s inexperience in MMA, Hawes does think he belongs in the UFC. But with the power he possesses in his hands and his ability to wrestle, Hawes thinks he’d be a tough outing for Nickal.
“Of course, he’s an elite-level wrestler and that holds a lot of weight,” Hawes said. “But when someone is jabbing you up and someone is not afraid to get taken down, it’s a different ball game. We’re not wrestling anymore. You see some of the best wrestlers come over and they don’t do as well. But you see some who don’t have a great pedigree of wrestling do amazing.
“Like Demetrious Johnson – how many times did he take down Henry Cejudo, and Henry Cejudo is an Olympic champion? Who took down (Daniel Cormier)? (Jon) Jones took him down, and Jones is only a college junior national champion like myself. So wrestling does play a big factor, but we’re fighting. This ain’t wrestling. So I can’t wait to put hands on him.”
Nickal already has his octagon debut booked. He meets Jamie Pickett at UFC 282 on Dec. 10 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.