Bo Nickal and Jason Nolf are both three-time NCAA Wrestling Champions and Nickal most recently won the Under-23 World Championships, and now they’re both BJJ white belts as well. The elite wrestlers would likely tear through most purple belts on a regular basis aside from maybe the very top competitors, but it’s encouraging to see them both wearing white belts to start their journey. Nickal in particular is far more interested in competing in MMA than he is in doing anything with his gi, but it’s good to see that he recognizes the benefits of training in it regardless ahead of his no-doubt electric MMA debut.
Both Bo Nickal and Jason Nolf were spotted in their gis training BJJ at The Mat Factory in Pittsburgh over the Christmas period, under Isaac Greeley. Despite not having an extensive amount of experience in the sport, Nickal has already competed with submissions in play when he fought against Gordon Ryan under a hybrid ruleset for Third Coast Grappling. This was one of several events where members of the Danaher Death Squad decided to take on NCAA wrestling champions under open rulesets, like Nicky Ryan taking on Tony Ramos at Who’s Number One.
JiuJitsuTimes spoke to Isaac Greeley about the training session: “I coached Jason as one of his club coaches at The Mat Factory throughout his high school career and I’ve been close with him since. I definitely have infused a lot of grappling techniques with wrestling as a high schooler and still do when we get together now, although I can’t say we ever really just focused on BJJ until recently.”
“Bo has trained at ATT Coconut Creek; he is looking to transition into MMA after wrestling, so he has some solid grappling experience and has had great coaches work with him there as well. Jason, like Bo, has a perfect wrestling style for BJJ because of his creativity and ability to scramble at a very high level. They both also have great pressure, an uncanny feel for positioning, and learn extremely fast, as you can imagine.”
One thing is for certain, Nickal’s elite wrestling skills alone would give him a huge chance of success in MMA and if he’s able to add in a good submission game and serviceable striking on top of that, he could become a big threat to the top of the ranks.