Bo Nickal on the UFC 300 main card isn't the end of the world

MMA fans need to relax about the UFC 300 bout order.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With the historic UFC 300 pay-per-view just days away, excitement around possibly the most stacked event in mixed martial arts history couldn't be higher. With many former champions, ranked contenders, and legends of the sport competing on April 13, fight fans are in store for one of the greatest nights of fights ever.

While most of the discussion surrounding UFC 300 is about possible fight outcomes and different matchups throughout the night, other discourse is around the bout order, namely, where the UFC has placed Bo Nickal on the main card. Nickal is undoubtedly one of, if not, the single fastest-rising prospect in the UFC but many have been left wondering whether he (and Cody Brundage) are actually deserving of their placement on the landmark event.

Nickal is opening as the single largest betting favorite in UFC history and is taking on an opponent in Brundage that stands currently at 4-4 inside the promotion and is mostly unknown to much of the audience. Sure, there is always a chance for a massive upset, but that proposition seems as unlikely as ever with this particular matchup.

When the UFC initially announced that Nickal and Brundage would be squaring off at UFC 300, the fight community was elated with what was largely expected to be a fight contested on the early prelims or the ESPN+ prelims. When the promotion announced that it would be prominently featured on the main card, some were left with feelings of confusion and disappointment. Although every fan is fully entitled to their opinion, the reality is that having Nickal vs. Brundage on the UFC 300 main card is not the end of the world.

For starters, the entire card from the first fight of the night all the way to the main event is absolutely stacked with little to no room to turn away from the action. Having this strong structure of other matchups surrounding Nickal vs. Brundage takes the pressure off the fight to deliver a show stopping performance. With how complete UFC 300 is from start to finish, if one fight on the main card doesn't totally exceed expectations, it will likely be quickly forgotten about rather than widely criticized.

We could look back at Bo Nickal as someone who emerged as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history

Similarly, the placement of Nickal vs. Brundage on UFC 300 is specifically designed to promote Nickal alongside some of the most popular stars on the roster. Having Nickal on the main card serves a purpose in elevating a rising prospect while also appropriately surrounding him with the likes of Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje, and the Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan matchup.

Nickal is also well worthy of all the hype he has received over the past several years as he is one of the most decorated collegiate wrestlers to come to the UFC in recent memory. He was able to finish his NCAA career with a record of 120-3 on the wrestling mat which included three Division 1 national championships with a collection of other awards and honors. One of his greatest achievements was in 2019 when he was named the winner of the Dan Hodge Trophy, given to the best college wrestler in the United States.

His UFC career, while still in the early stages, has been extremely impressive with two quick finishes on Dana White's Contender Series followed by two more quick finishes at UFC 285 and 290 respectively. Holding a perfect 5-0 record and having a ceiling as high as potentially any prospect in the promotion's history alone should be enough reason for fight fans to want to watch him fight anytime he steps in the Octagon, regardless of event or placement on the card.

Although his spot on the UFC 300 main card may be in question for some, his track record prior to the UFC coupled with his success since joining the company is as impressive as any fighter this early into their career ever. Five to 10 years from now, we could even look back at Nickal as someone who emerged as one of the greatest fighters in UFC history.

He undoubtedly has this sort of stamp of approval from the UFC, and with the surrounding talent on this historic event, his presence at UFC 300 should be appreciated rather than criticized.