Top prospect Aaron Pico returns to the Bellator cage this Thursday at Bellator 252. Now a Jackson-Wink MMA fighter, Pico (6-3) will look to make it three wins in a row against John De Jesus.
De Jesus is a fighter who Pico called a “very tough opponent” during the Bellator 252 media day this week. “One thing’s for sure, he’s very confident. Very good striker. I’ve seen him around here in the hotel lobby, he’s not lacking confidence. I know he’s going to come with everything he’s got, and it’s going to be a good test for me. But I feel I’m well-prepared.”
Pico has made the move to Albuquerque, New Mexico full time to train at Jackson-Wink. He recently purchased his first home, with his girlfriend. While Pico says they love the city, there has been an adjustment. “I can’t see my family all that much. To be honest with you, I don’t see my mom and dad and my brother, my grandparents, all too too much. Just because I’m training in New Mexico. So after this fight it’s going to be good to go down for Christmas and see them.”
It’s all part of Pico’s development as a fighter, however. The highly touted amateur wrestler and boxer, a Junior Golden Gloves champion, has had the spotlight on him since day one. He started his career in Bellator. Lost his debut, then went on a four-fight win streak. But stumbles against Henry Corrales and Adam Borics took some of the shine off. Since then, however, Pico has been building his way back up, earning two stoppage victories.
“I’ve taken some devastating losses,” Pico admitted. But in the wake of those losses, he believes he has shown that “I have a big heart. I have a strong team that will pick me up, I can pick myself up. Through the losses, I’ve bounced back with two finishes, and that’s really good for me.”
The setbacks also helped in another way, spurring him to prepare even more thoroughly. “I don’t take winning for granted. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done because I’ve lost, and I know what it feels like. I put in so much work going into fights because I know what it feels like to lose. And I never, never take winning for granted,” said Pico, who added that “overall, I can say one thing: I’m strong mentally.”
Watch the full Bellator 252 virtual media day press scrum with Aaron Pico above. The event takes place this Thursday, November 12 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, with the main card airing live on CBS Sports Network.