Bellator 252’s John De Jesus Ready to Steal Aaron Pico’s Hype: “I Live in this Underdog Role”

John De Jesus
John de Jesus, Bellator 244 Credit: Bellator MMA

At Bellator 252, John De Jesus is looking to once again thrive in underdog role.

John De Jesus had quite the welcoming to the Bellator family. The Pittsburgh native ended the undefeated streak of Ukraine’s Vladyslav Parubchenko at Bellator 244. Putting a stop to that five-year win streak was no small feat. Now, he has another tough task ahead: defeating the highly touted prospect Aaron Pico.

De Jesus has had his eye on Pico for a while, and now he has the opportunity to not only end the hype train, but take it for his own ride.

“Man I live in this underdog role, I thrive in it,” De Jesus told Cageside Press recently. “I love spoiling parties. I wanted to fight this guy a long time, two years ago I’m talking. He’s been on my hit list,” De Jesus continued. “I’m coming to fight up and take everything that he has earned, everything he has worked hard to get, I’m taking everything from him.”

Aaron Pico exploded onto the scene, being called the “Lebron James of MMA” by some. Now standing at 6-3, Pico has become more of a martial artist under the watchful eye of Jackson Wink MMA. Even under the legendary banner, De Jesus believes he knows ‘word for word’ what will occur on fight night.

“He’s been on my hit list for a while now,” De Jesus stated. “I wanted this dude when he was knocking people out easily. We will stand and bang for a little while, he will realize the range isn’t there, then he will use that world class wrestling and I’ll stuff those takedowns and finish him.”

A 30-year old New York native that now calls Pittsburgh home, De Jesus has some skilled coaches and training partners that he calls family over at “The Academy Pittsburgh,” a home of killers.

“We are the diamond in the rough over there,” De Jesus laughed. “The Academy, we have nothing but killers at the gym. It’s only a matter of time before the world sees that.”

A training partner of the Worthy Brothers, UFC’s Khama Worthy and his brother Chaka, De Jesus hopes to secure a multi-fight deal with Bellator following a victory at Bellator 252. This fight and his debut fight with the promotion have been solo deals, and working a full time job as an arborist while fighting, De Jesus hopes to finally do this full time and continue to pursue the Bellator ranks.

“Once I finish Aaron Pico I’m calling for that multi fight deal, I want to chase the rankings,” De Jesus explained. “I saw Pitbull today and got hyped, I plan on staying with Bellator. In my day job, I get strength and conditioning in all day, it’s a grueling job,” De Jesus continued. “I strive to do this full time, but till then I workout while I’m working and after working.”

De Jesus holds a high level of confidence heading into this fight, and loves hearing folks writing him off. He feeds off of that. De Jesus finished by telling us that he has been working harder than ever for this fight, which will feature must-see action.

“I work with some high, high level wrestlers who can’t take me down anymore because of how hard I’m working.”

Bellator 252 takes place this Thursday, November 12 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, with the main card airing live on CBS Sports Network. The preliminary card, featuring John De Jesus vs. Aaron Pico, will be available to stream live on Cageside Press.