After a stumble a couple of years back, top featherweight prospect Aaron Pico has corrected course over his last three fights.
Having left Team Bodyshop for New Mexico’s Jackson-Wink MMA, Pico (7-3) has put together three straight wins. All three have been finishes, as have all of the victories in his short career, which began back in 2017.
Pico will look to make it four in a row on Friday’s Bellator 260 card. Ahead of the bout, the wrestling and boxing prodigy was asked about any potential underrated areas of his game.
“I just have so much power in my hands, it can put you to sleep. But I think a lot of people underestimate my grappling,” replied Pico, who has a single submission win, from last year, on his record. “My grappling is actually very, very good, and it’s an area I spend a lot of time in training. I see a lot of people see me post about striking, but I’m in the gym doing jiu-jitsu a lot.”
Recognized as a fighter with a considerable competitive fire, Pico was asked how hard it has been not to go overboard in his fights, and heading into his bout Friday with Aiden Lee.
“I feel good. I’m at a really good place mentally and physically,” the featherweight responded. “One thing I always try to keep in mind: not too high, not too low. Try to keep it in the middle.”
“I’m excited to go in there and do my job. I feel good, I’m happy, my weight is good, camp went really, really well, I’m happy,” he added. “That’s ultimately what you want.”
That hasn’t always been the case. After a pair of losses seemed to derail Pico’s momentum in 2019, “I really had to dig deep mentally,” he admitted. “Of course it’s not easy in this fight game. You’re only as good as your last fight. Coming off losses, for me, back-to-back, was very very difficult. But my coaches and my team around me were like ‘you’re going to be one of the best fighters on this planet. It’s just going to take some time, you have a lot to learn, but that’s why you’re here, so let’s put in the work.'”
“And I really do,” he continued. “I’m in the gym two, three times a day. If you want to be good at anything, want to be the best, it requires a lot of work.”
When it comes to handling setbacks, Pico stated, “I have one simple rule: pick yourself up, get back in the gym and carry on.”
While three straight wins had pundits expecting a ranked opponent at Bellator 260, that’s not the case. Instead, it’s the little-known Lee. Pico doesn’t appear to see this as any less of a task.
“There’s obviously a lot of pressure on me. This guy has nothing to lose.” While his opponent isn’t ranked, Pico is excited to test out his new skills. Beyond that, “I don’t care if it’s a ranked opponent or a guy off the street, as soon as I step in the cage, I’m fighting for my paycheck. That excites me the most: taking home all my money.”
Watch the full Bellator 260 media day interview with Aaron Pico above. He takes on Aiden Lee this Friday, June 11 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT.