Aaron Pico came away from Bellator 299 happy with his performance, a TKO finish against Pedro Carvalo at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
He also came away from the event somewhat surprised that the Irish fans didn’t give him a rougher ride. Carvalho might be Portuguese, but he trains with SBG Ireland, and is essentially an adopted hometown fighter when it comes to shows in Dublin.
“I thought the Irish fans took it easy on me,” Pico (12-4) said following the fight. “I thought they were going to boo a little more, but like I said they took it easy, and I’m happy that I fought here and experienced it, for sure.”
Pico, long a blue chip prospect in the featherweight division, now has his sights set on gold. For years, while pal A.J. McKee held the 145lb title, the pair were adamant that they would not fight one another. But McKee is now fighting at lightweight, and Pico is on an 8-1 run with the lone loss coming by injury.
“I believe I’m one of the best fighters in the world at featherweight, and the next step is to fight for the belt,” Pico said when asked about his future. “I feel I’m ready physically and mentally. I’ve waited a long time for this, I fought whoever they put in front of me, and I believe I’m ready for the next opportunity.”
Who that opportunity comes against, and when it might arrive, is a question mark. Bellator’s future is very much up in the air, with rumors of a sale to the PFL still circulating. They do not have any cards booked past Bellator 301 in November; on top of that, featherweight champ Patricio Pitbull is currently recovering from injury.
Asked about how he’d celebrate the win, Pico reiterated his desire to fight for gold, and said there wasn’t much to celebrate. “I’m happy, but I don’t have a belt wrapped around my waist, so the job is not done, to be honest with you.”
Watch the full Bellator 299 post-fight press conference with Aaron Pico above.