Los Angeles, CA — Bellator 238’s Aaron Pico has arguably been the highest touted prospect to grace a major MMA promotion in years, but after a solid 4-1 start in Bellator MMA, the wrestling standout hit a wall. Being finished twice in a row, by Henry Corrales and Adam Borics, suddenly had fan and pundits questioning whether Pico had been rushed along.
Those losses also left Pico (4-3) outside the featherweight grand prix. And that’s just fine, he told Cageside Press during the Bellator 238 media day. “To be honest with you it’s a great experience for me. I feel it’s really good for me not to be in the tournament. I don’t feel like anything that I’m not in the tournament. ”
“I have a lot of things to do, I have a lot of growing to do in the cage. I don’t think I was even ready to be in the tournament,” Pico added. And so with that in mind there’s no hard feelings. “Everything is good. It’s not like I need to be there. My path is a little bit different, and that’s all that matters.”
The takeaway from the Borics fight, in which Pico was finished after a flying knee and some follow-up punches, was simple. “I made one small mistake, I took one blind shot into a flying knee,” observed Pico. “Leading the whole fight. I was dominating him, I was dominating Adam Borics. I think I laid the blueprint for how to beat him. Just take him down. I think Darrion Caldwell probably watched that fight and said ‘hey, this is what we need to do.'”
Pico had also switched camps to Jackson-Wink MMA shortly before that bout, leaving Team Bodyshop, where he had got his start alongside A.J. McKee.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is leading up to the fight, I only had six weeks training with Greg Jackson and all the coaches there,” Pico revealed. “It’s been seven months, me being in Albuquerque, and let me f*cking tell you, it’s been day in and day out in training.”
Make no mistake, Pico has not been “sitting on the couch for the last seven months just moping and ‘aww sh*t I lost.’ No, I’ve been in the gym training my ass off and learning the sport of MMA. And I can’t wait to show what I’m going to do Saturday night honestly.”
Despite his enthusiasm, the 23-year old also recognizes that he’s a developing fighter. “Looking at myself, that fight to now, it’s a huge, huge difference. Seriously. It boggles my mind how green I am in MMA, and I’m still green. Being with the coaches, Greg [Jackson], game planning, seeing how they do it has really opened my eyes.”
He’ll look to show his development against Daniel Carey (7-3) this weekend at Bellator 238. The card takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California, and airs live on DAZN.