Following a quick submission win at Contender Series that earned him a UFC contract, middleweight prospect Ikram Aliskerov did it again at UFC 288. Having knocked out Phil Hawes in the first round of their bout last Saturday, the Dagestani has now set his sights one one of the division’s most promising prospects: Division 1 wrestler champion Bo Nickal.
Ikram Aliskerov wants to wrestle Bo Nickal
At the UFC 288 post-fight interview (transcribed by MMA Junkie), Aliskerov explained why he would like to take on Nickal in his next outing. Though Bo has only four professional MMA matches (all wins), the undefeated prospect has expressed a desire to face a Dagestani wrestler in the Octagon.
“Those guys [Dagestani wrestlers] think they know how to wrestle? We’ll show them what real wreslting is.” Nickal said on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast. “I have a ton of respect for any guy that steps in the octagon, any guy that’s willing to do that. Those guys are at the top of the sport right now. I 100% don’t mean it in a disrespectful way, but we think we’re better.
Having learned about these statements, Aliskerov explained he would be happy to make Nickal’s wish, while remaining respectful towards his potential opponent.
“We’ll have to wait and see what UFC decides, but I know this guy (Bo Nickal). I have nothing but respect to him, and I know he’s a great wrestler. But he said that he wants to fight a wrestler from Dagestan and he wants to show what wrestling really is. So you know what? I’m ready to be that Dagestani that he fights with and, and we’ll see whose wrestling is better.”
The debut at UFC 288 was a dream come true
A first-round highlight reel is arguably the best way to debut in the Octagon and Aliskerov understands how special it is to be able to accomplish the feat. Now that the has an official win in the UFC, Ikram feels like it is a dream come true, especially for the way it happened at UFC 288.
“I’m really happy with the win. To be honest, this is my first knockout of my professional career, and to win my debut in the UFC with such a fiery knockout, I feel great about it. I feel really happy. I mean, I feel like I’m dreaming, to be coming to the UFC for such a long time trying to get here, and then to win in such a way over such an opponent – it’s incredible.”
Ikram Aliskerov only lost to Khamzat Chimaev
With the win at UFC 288, Ikram Aliskerov (14-1) now rides a six-fight win streak, with just one decision win in the bunch. In fact, the 30-year-old’s sole loss happened in a match against another one of the UFC’s hottest prospects at the moment, none other than Khamzat Chimaev. At Brave CF 23, ‘Borz’ knocked Aliskerov in the first round of their fight in April 2019.
When questioned if he wishes to rematch Chimaev, Aliskerov said he was not against the idea and believed his path and Khamzat’s will eventually cross again in the UFC. However, Ikram’s primary goal is to break into the middleweight division’s top 10 before he thinks about facing Borz again.
“My goal in the UFC is to get to the top 10, top 5. I know this guy is in that area, so I’m sure we’ll see each other. But for now, it’s not the rematch that I’m thinking about. My goal is to get to top 10, top 5 as soon as possible.” Aliskerov said at the UFC 288 post-fight press conference.
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