Bellator 286: Aaron Pico Believes Win Over Jeremy Kennedy Puts Him Next For Featherweight Title

Aaron Pico’s MMA career has been a wild ride thus far, and he is finally putting it all together.

A little more than three years ago, Pico (10-3) was on a two-fight losing streak — finding himself knocked out twice. The massive hype that he had built up was all but gone. But he wasn’t done. He retooled, kept his head down, and got even better. Pico is now riding the longest win streak of his career at six.

The 26-year-old returns to action at Bellator 286 on October 1 against No. 6 ranked featherweight Jeremy Kennedy.

Pico is never one to look past an opponent, but when asked if he thinks he is next for the title with a win, he obliged.

“We’re not looking past Jeremy Kennedy, but we get through this fight and perfect scenario- I think I’m ready to fight for a world championship,” Pico told Cageside Press in an exclusive interview. “My team is ready. I’m ready physically and mentally, but it’s ultimately up to the organization. We all know that. But if they call me and say ‘you’re going to fight for a title,’ my answer is absolutely ‘yes.’ Let’s get it. Just tell me when and where. And let’s get the party started.”

With the No. 3 ranked featherweight Mads Burnell losing at Bellator 285 and his friend, former featherweight champion AJ McKee moving to lightweight, there is a clear path for Pico to get the next title shot with a win.

But it wasn’t easy, and the ups and downs throughout his young career motivated him.

“It feels rewarding, to be honest with you. Because I was just thinking about this on the treadmill…And I was just like, Man, I really came a long way because I was in the dumps. I was 4-3 with messages saying you’re never going to be champion. You’re never going to do this. You don’t have a chin. You suck. I’m really proud of myself, and I’m proud of my team that we blocked out the noise, we put our head down, and we just grinded,” Pico said. “And in every story as far as you know, not just in athletes, but in business and stuff, there’s always something that hinders them, and then you’d make a decision in life: “Do I keep going or do I quit? It sounds so cliche, but it’s so true. And I made a decision with myself.”

“Listen, I set out a goal when I was very young to be a world champion. I love this sport. And I’m going to do everything in my power to get to where I want to go. I don’t care what anybody has to say; I’m gonna surround myself with the best team possible. I may not be the smartest, I may not be the most educated, but I’m smart in this way. I will sit down at a table, I will put my ego aside, and say, ‘Listen, guys, what do I need to do to get better? Just tell me what I need to do. And I’ll put in the work.’ And that’s what I did. And it feels rewarding to see myself, you know, God willing, one fight away from a world championship…I’m proud of myself. But the work isn’t done yet. The job isn’t done. And I have to stay focused.”

With the featherweight title being defended on the same card, it almost seems too good to be true and a perfect matchmaking opportunity. That is, if Pico gets through Kennedy.

Patricio “Pitbull” Freire faces Adam Borics in the main event of Bellator 286, and if Pico had his choice, he wants to rematch Borics, who knocked him out at Bellator 214.

“I don’t really know who’s gonna win, but I can tell you who I want to win. I want Adam Borics to win. I do. Because if I can write a perfect story: I win my flight, Adam wins his fight; we fight for the world title, I revenge my loss by taking his belt. So that’s what I would like to see. So I will be rooting for Adam,” Pico said.

Watch the rest of our interview with Aaron Pico above. Pico vs. Kennedy goes down at Bellator 286 on October 1 exclusively on Showtime.