LAS VEGAS – Bo Nickal visualizes a lot of moments. Some have already happened. Others he’s living out right now. Even more are down the line.
Saturday at UFC 285, Nickal (3-0 MMA, 0-0) will step into the promotion’s cage for the first time, though he expects the feeling to be a familiar one.
“I think the important thing about visualization is making it really real, making it a really visceral experience,” Nickal told MMA Junkie and other reporters during a pre-fight news conference. “I think there’s technique that goes into visualization, just like there’s technique that goes into fighting. For me, it’s making the experience as real as possible, imagining not only what I’ll see but what it’s going to sound like, what it’s going to smell like, what the concrete is going to feel like underneath my feet, what the cage is going to feel like under my feet, and just making it as real as possible for me.
“So when I go in there for the first time, it really won’t be the first time because I’ve imagined it so many times in my mind. That’s just a very powerful practice.”
Nickal listed visualization as one of the many tools that has propelled him up the ranks in MMA, much quicker than most athletes who go down a traditional path. He also credits those around him for his success.
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Keeping with the mentality that pushed him toward a Penn State University wrestling scholarship, four NCAA All-American designations, a Dan Hodge Trophy, two Dana White’s Contender Series appearances, and a UFC contract, Nickal is already planning way in advance.
The pinnacle visualization for Nickal, is the one with the greatest magnitude. He has an opponent, date, and location that he pictures and uses as motivation when his training sessions hit peak difficulty.
“(Khamzat Chimaev) is probably the biggest, most hyped guy coming up right now that hasn’t won a belt yet. I think eventually, us clashing is inevitable. That’s something that I visualize in my training and when I’m in a hard workout, getting my last bike sprint in, getting my last rep in, in the weight room, I’m visualizing that.
“Whether that fight comes in a year, or three years, or five years, or whatever it is, I’ll be ready. I do a lot of visualization and I see that fight happening as a main event in Raiders’ Stadium in front of 100,0000 people. I think it would be the biggest fight in UFC history. Only time will tell whether or not we get that, but I’m doing everything in my power to make that happen.”
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