Bellator 199’s Aaron Pico Talks Fighting Future, Including Boxing Crossover

Having picked up his third straight win, all via knockout, at Bellator 199, Aaron Pico took some time post-fight to discuss his fighting future. And it’s not just MMA that he’s interested in.

Aaron Pico set up another knockout finish with a body shot at Bellator 199, putting his debut loss far in the distance. Now 3-1 in the past twelve months, Pico is performing like the top prospect Bellator clearly thought he was. He addressed the finish, and his fighting future, at the Bellator 199 post-fight press scrum at the SAP Center in Los Angeles, CA following the event.

“Left hooks to the body is something that always comes natural to me,” he explained. That, Pico said, is thanks to his boxing background. Boxing was a theme that would come up again later in the discussion, but first, Pico, still just 21 years old, told the media in attendance that he “wasn’t surprised at all” that opponent Lee Morrison tried to take him down Saturday night.

“I’ve wrestled with the highest level wrestlers. Olympic champions, world champions,” Pico noted. “I’ve traveled the world all over. I had a feeling he was going to try to take me down.”

In Pico’s estimation, Morrison’s attempt to take him to the mat was foolhardy, but a move made out of desperation. “I’ve wrestled the best in the world and they couldn’t take me down, this guy’s not going to be able to take me down,” he said of the situation. “But my whole thought process coming into the fight, I thought he was going to run a lot more. That’s what they said, he was going to try to cut angles, so we were prepared for that. But in the back of my mind, I knew he was going to go for a takedown, because I knew once he felt my power, that was the only thing he could possibly do, try to take me down.”

The question of what comes next, however, became more about that other sport: boxing.

“Absolutely, I would love to get some boxing fights,” he said when prompted about an interest in dabbling in another sport. “When I started boxing around 10, 11 years old, I thought I was just going to go full on professional boxing. I actually wanted to go to the Olympics for boxing, and a couple of guys that I’ve beaten were actually on the Olympic team for 2016. So I was a really really high level boxer, I had I think about 30 amateur fights, but as I was approaching high school, I said ‘I gotta get back to wrestling.'” He did get back to wrestling, and of course MMA as well. That said, “it’s not a matter of ‘do I want to get boxing fights in me?’ I’m eventually going to get boxing bouts in me, I love boxing.”

He already has some lofty goals. “I feel I’m capable of being a world champion in boxing. A lot of people will think I’m crazy, but I spar with the best,” Pico explained. “I spar with a lot of boxers at Wild Card, I’ve been Miguel Cotto’s sparring partner for the last two fights of his career. So when I do go into boxing, I’m going to try to be the best in the world, and that’s being the world champion.”

“If you ask Freddie Roach if I’m capable of becoming a world champion in boxing and in MMA, I’m 100% sure he’ll say yes.”

In the meantime, however, Pico said that “the most important thing right now is to become the best fighter in MMA. The boxing, right now, that’s just a big passion of mine and I’ll definitely want to cross over eventually.” Until then, “the  most important thing and the task at hand is becoming the best fighter in the world.”

You can watch the full post-fight press scrum with Bellator 199’s Aaron Pico above!