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(4-1) is a mixed martial artist currently competing in
’s featherweight division. For his next appearance, the
22-year-old will lock horns with Henry
on the main card at Bellator
, which takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California,
on Jan. 26.
As fight day approaches, here are five things that you might not
know about Team Bodyshop member.
He was a much-hyped prospect.
Before even participating in mixed martial arts, Pico already had a
Nike shoe when Bellator signed him as a then 17-year-old in Nov.
2017. The unprecedented move sent shock waves through combat
sports. A number of notable figures in were vocal in praising the
young prospect, who was seemingly destined for stardom. Fellow
Bellator fighter and former collegiate wrestling star Chael Sonnen
commented at the time of Pico’s signing, “This is the No. 1
prospect in the history of MMA.” Bellator president Scott Coker
said of his freshly-signed prospect, “Simply put, Aaron has all the
makings of MMA’s next great superstar.”
He got off to a losing start.
Anticipation was high for Pico’s MMA debut. At Bellator 180, the
now 20-year-old Pico faced the unheralded Zach
, a competitor 12 years his senior. The general
consensus was that the talented wrestler would cruise to victory in
the lightweight bout. However, that was not meant to be. 24 seconds
into the first round, Pico was succumbed to a guillotine choke.
He has extensive wrestling experience.
Pico got his start with combat sports at a young age. Pankration
and boxing were on the agenda for the youngster, and he excelled in
both. His accolades in the latter include being the 2009 National
Junior Golden Gloves Champion. He also participated in three forms
of wrestling: freestyle, folklore and Greco-Roman. He would win
national championships in all three styles and international
success followed. In 2013, he claimed gold at the freestyle World
Cadet Championships. Later that year, the then high school student
competed in senior wrestling by representing the United States
against Russia in a dual meet. Pico dominated his opponent in an
8-0 decision win. In 2016, the 19-year-old grappling sensation
qualified for the Olympic trials, which was the first time a
teenager had done so in the event’s 40-year history.
He has a famous ancestor.
Pico is a proud American whose Mexican hailing family have been
residing in the state of California for seven generations. The
young combatant’s Californio ancestors include Pío de Jesus Pico,
the last governor of California when it was under Mexican rule. The
rancher and politician held office between 1845 and 1846.
His wins have all come by knockout.
Following his calamitous debut, the dejected Pico returned to
training and focused on righting the ship. A day shy of three
months after the loss, the young pugilist returned to the cage to
face Justin Linn
at featherweight. At Bellator 183, Pico emerged triumphant by first
round knockout. He would go on to achieve victory in his next three
bouts by TKO. In doing so, he redeemed his reputation as one of the
most talented prospects in all of MMA.