Several goals were in place for Skye Nicolson prior to her pro debut just eleven months ago.

Among them were a first-year campaign that would position her for a shot at a major title during year two, and for that opportunity to come versus a reigning champion in lieu of picking up a vacant belt.

The 2020 Olympic quarterfinalist for Australia has the chance to become the mandatory challenger for the WBC featherweight title with a win over Barcelona’s Tania Alvarez (7-0, 1KOs). Awaiting the winner is whomever prevails in the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz main event for the undisputed featherweight championship this Saturday on DAZN from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City.

“I have to make myself known,” Nicolson acknowledged to “I want to stamp my name in this division and show everyone at featherweight that I’m someone to watch out for. Especially fighting on a show with the main event between Serrano and Cruz, I want them to know I’m coming for them.”

Serrano (43-2-1, 30KOs) holds the lineal, WBC, IBF and WBO featherweight titles and aims to win Cruz’s WBA belt to become Puerto Rico’s first-ever undisputed champ. Afterward, the 34-year-old Boricua southpaw will likely next face Ireland’s Katie Taylor (22-0, 6KOs) in a rematch for the undisputed lightweight championship. Regardless of how that bout plays out, the plan from there is for Serrano to return to—and finish out her storied career—at featherweight.

That would be the perfect scenario for Nicolson (5-0, 0KOs), who plans to use 2023 as the year she rapidly transitions from prospect to contender, all the way to world champion. 

“That really excites me. I want to beat world champions,” vowed Nicolson. “I don’t want to have to settle for vacant titles unless there’s really no other choice. Whoever’s the champion when it’s my turn, that’s who I’m coming for. If it’s Amanda Serrano, then even better. She’s pound-for-pound one of the best women of all time.

“What a way to be crowned world champion by being able to face and beat one of the best to ever do it. That just makes our goal even clearer. After Saturday, we’ll be in that mandatory position to make the fight happen later this year. I can’t wait.”

It’s all going according to schedule for Nicolson, whose year-one plan was to fight six times. The 27-year-old from Yatala, Queensland, Australia gets to check that box with her placement on this weekend’s DAZN show. It will mark her third fight in the U.S., having turned pro on the Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez-Julio Cesar Martinez card last March 5 in San Diego. Nicolson’s appearance on the undercard to the historic Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano clash last April 30 landed her as the first Australian woman ever to fight at MSG.  

Wedged in between her two trips to New York City, Nicolson added an eight-round win last June 4 in Cardiff, Wales and a landslide victory in her first ten-round bout last October 15 on home soil in South Brisbane. The goal this Saturday is to not only become the WBC mandatory challenger but prove her place on the title stage. She even joined the training camp of close friend and reigning unified junior lightweight champion Alycia Baumgardner (13-1, 7KOs), who faces France's Elhem Mekhaled for the undisputed 130-pound championship in the evening's co-main event. 

“I want this performance to say, ‘Watch this featherweight fight, then watch the featherweight fight in the headliner and see what you think.’ That only adds to it,” Nicolson said. “I’m a couple of fights away from challenging for the world title.

“After this win, I’ll be right there to knock on the door—‘Let me in, let me in.’ I can’t wait. I’m ready.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox