San Jose, CA – Losing an opponent a little over a week before you’re set to face them is a punch in the gut for any fighter, but certainly for one on a 5-fight win streak and so much momentum behind them. Lucky for Bellator featherweight Aaron Pico someone was crazy enough to step in on just days notice.
“Yeah Ali called me and gave me the unfortunate news that Jeremy Kennedy suffered a broken orbital. I said I want to fight, I want to fight next week. Find me an opponent because I’ve been putting in a lot of work. Three-and-a-half, four months of just….because I was supposed to fight the month before this. I had a long camp to say the least,” Pico told reporters at Bellator 277 media day on Wednesday.
“They had a lot of people turn the fight down and this guy said yes to it and that’s scary because he’s got balls and he’s going to come to fight. He’s going to look to make this an opportunity, but I’m prepared. So he has to fight me so that’s a different story.”
Adli Edwards will face Pico just 13 days after his last fight. He defeated Josh Harvey via first round submission at XMMA 4 – Black Magic on April 2nd.
With such a long camp for Pico not fighting was not an option for the rising featherweight.
“I knew they were going to have some people that would say yes. There’s a lot of fighters that were like ‘I can’t make 146 so we’ll do a catchweight’ oh still no, but like I said this guy is 9-1 he’s a D2 wrestler, national champion and this guy’s no slouch, and has nothing to lose and looking for his big opportunity. Soon as we got the name my coaches went and we studied film with them and said ‘alright let’s get to work’. It’s going to be a tough fight, but I’m excited for it,” Pico said.
“It’s a new puzzle to solve so that’s the way I’m looking at it.”
Pico is not taking his new opponent lightly.
“To me, to be honest with you, I look at him as a world champion. Each fight that I take is so, so important for my career. God willing I get the finish and win on Friday. I think I’m still….I’m going to be fine. We can rebook the fight with Jeremy Kennedy. The only advice I have to say to him is maybe, if you’re one week out and you’ve suffered broken orbital, you should put some head gear on when you’re sparring,” Pico said.
“I know a lot of guys don’t like to wear head gear. I’ve seen some clips of him not wearing head gear, but that is the purpose of head gear. So you don’t suffer cuts, you don’t suffer broken orbitals. So yeah put some head gear on next time.”
The stakes are not lost on Pico with the new opponent. With 5 wins in a row Pico could be in line for a shot at a belt sooner than later.
“I can fight Jeremy Kennedy again, I can get closer to the title, I don’t really know. The most important thing is Edwards on Friday. That is the most important thing. I’m not looking too far ahead.”
Watch the rest of Aaron Pico’s media day scrum above. Bellator 277 goes down April 15th in San Jose, CA on Showtime.