Pickett (13-8 MMA, 2-4 UFC) welcomes fellow Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Nickal (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) to the octagon on Saturday’s UFC 285 main card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.
Nickal is one of the most highly touted prospects in the sport. A three-time NCAA Division-I national wrestling champion and three-time Big Ten champion at Penn State, the 27-year-old is one of the most decorated wrestlers in MMA – but Pickett agreed to the matchup without knowing any of it.
“I didn’t understand who I was signing up to fight,” Pickett told reporters at the UFC 285 media day on Wednesday. “My manager was pushing it. Everybody was pushing it. I was like, ‘All right, man, I’ll do it.’ They said more money. I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ I didn’t really realize who I was fighting. I’m not lying. I swear, I did not know who he was. Everybody else knew who he was except for me because I’m not really big into the wrestling like that. I don’t watch wrestling or anything.”
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Pickett also is well aware of the position he’s in for this fight. All the attention is on Nickal and he plans on coming up big as an underdog.
“I see another athlete that’s ready to compete,” Pickett said. “I’m ready to compete. He’s ready to compete. The UFC’s paying me for a test. That’s what I am – I’m a test for him. I’m not stupid. They want to see if he can fare against somebody that’s good all the way around. I’m not really great at one thing, but I’m good everywhere. So they want to see how he deals with me, and I plan on spoiling the party.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.