Cody Brundage understands narrative fighting Bo Nickal: ‘I don’t even know if the UFC sees it as a competitive fight’

Cody Brundage didn’t blink when he was asked about facing Bo Nickal at UFC 300 but he also understood the narrative that would become undeniable in the days and weeks leading to the fight.

He has no chance to win.

A three-time NCAA champion wrestler from Penn State, Nickal arrived in the UFC after only three professional fights, two of which took place on Dana White’s Contender Series. In five total fights in his career, Nickal has spent less than six minutes in the cage while scoring two knockouts and three submissions along the way.

By the time they actually clash on Saturday, Brundage likely goes down as the biggest underdog in UFC history with Nickal currently sitting as a 25-to-1 favorite to win. None of that gets lost on Brundage, who knew exactly what he was signing up for when he accepted the fight.

“The best way to describe my career so far has been inconsistent,” Brundage told MMA Fighting. “So they don’t really know which version they’re going to get of me. Depending on the version they’re like ‘well Bo Nickal may run through him.’ Obviously, we’re trying to have the good version of Cody show up, the best version.

“I don’t even know if the UFC sees it as a competitive fight, which is kind of crazy. Because even in my losses, I don’t feel I’ve ever been run through. Most of the time, I’m winning up until I lose.”

Through eight fights in his UFC career, Brundage sits at 4-4 including a pair of knockouts and a submission among his victories. In his losses, Brundage dropped a pair of decisions and he’s been knocked out and submitted once in those four defeats.

Even Brundage admits that he’s struggled to build any real momentum in the UFC and that fault lies squarely on his shoulders. But Brundage promises without a shadow of a doubt on his best night, he can give anybody problems — including Nickal.

“Everybody he’s fought so far, I have more finishes in the UFC than his past opponents have combined wins in the UFC,” Brundage said. “When you are fighting people you’re not worried if they can hurt you, it’s different. If Bo’s watched my film, and he comes from a good gym so I’m sure he has, he knows I can hurt him. That alone makes you fight different. When there’s a threat of real danger, real damage and I’m not scared of wrestling and I’m not there to get run over.”

Brundage confesses that most of the struggles he’s faced in the UFC have been self-inflicted.

Working with head coach Marc Montoya out of Factory X in Denver, Brundage continues to fix those issues and he really wants to put his best foot forward come Saturday.

“I think one of my biggest problems was a lack of patience,” Brundage said. “I would get in there and I’m like I want to get out of here. That was my thought. Sometimes it would work out. I had a couple of first round finishes and then other times, it would bite me in the ass. Jumping guillotine against Rodolfo Vieira, not a great game plan. That wasn’t the smartest decision but my mind was ‘I want to get out of this fight, I’m going to finish him so I’m going to finish him.’ There was never a thought of well what if I don’t get him?

“I think a lot of that’s experience. A lot of that’s being more comfortable and more mature and it takes time. It takes wins, it takes losses, it takes ups and downs. I still feel like I haven’t really shown my full potential but it something that I’ve been figuring out.”

Brundage certainly respects Nickal as an opponent and he definitely understands the hype surrounding him. That said, the 29-year-old middleweight knows that through five fights, Nickal has never really been tested yet in his career.

In four fights under the UFC banner (including his two appearances on The Contender Series), Nickal absorbed a total of three strikes. He’s certainly never been knocked down and he’s never been taken down.

Those unknowns are what Brundage wants to test come Saturday night.

“We don’t know how good his cardio is because he’s never gone more than three minutes,” Brundage said. “We don’t know how good his chin is because he’s never been cracked. We don’t know how much he really wants to engage in a fight. It’s easy when you’re the hammer. It’s easy when you’re running these dudes over. It’s fun. But it’s not fun when you’re getting your ass beat.

“Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I’ve got my ass beat quite a bit but I know this is something I want to do. One thing I keep seeing him say is ‘I can’t want to compete, I can’t wait for this competition.’ When I first started fighting, that was me. I can’t wait to compete. Now, it’s a fight. It’s not really a competition. That’s why our sport is unlike any other sport.”

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