Just a few months shy of his 25th birthday, Aaron Pico’s professional MMA career already has been a rollercoaster.
One of the most highly touted prospects in the sport’s history, Pico has shown moments of brilliance, but he’s also had devastating setbacks that saw him get knocked out in back-to-back fights, bringing his overall record to 4-3 at one point.
But now, after going 3-0 in 2020 with three finishes, Pico (7-3 MMA, 7-3 BMMA) has learned to pump the brakes and enjoy the process. He takes on Aidan Lee (9-4 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) next week at Bellator 260 and while he’s confident he can take out any featherweight on the roster, he’s solely focused on the task at hand.
“One thing that Greg Jackson always tells me is you gotta stay in the process and control what you can control,” Pico told MMA Junkie Radio. “For me, I gotta just stay focused on June 11. This guy is a very tough opponent. I try not to look too far into the future and say I have to do this or I want to be here, because then I’m pulling out of the process, and I guess we have to cross that bridge when it comes, but I hope I’m in a very good position God willing, and I believe I will. I believe we’re gonna get to the top.”
He continued, “He’s a tricky fighter. Yeah, he’s not ranked, but these fights, people don’t realize that they’re scary because they have nothing to lose. There’s a lot riding on it for me, but I feel like that with every fight. I don’t take any opponent lightly to be honest. Every fight I look at it, and I feel it’s a world championship fight.”
Pico may have been just as surprised as everyone else when he suffered those losses, but he admits it was a blessing in disguise. It allowed him to reevaluate and make the necessary changes to fully live up to his potential.
“I’m only 24 and the fights that I lost, now I can beat those guys,” Pico said. “I really can. If you go back, it wasn’t like I got my ass kicked for three rounds. I just got caught, and it was just a lack of inexperience. Everything worked out for the good. I met the coaches that I have now in my corner, and yeah, a lot of people were calling me greatest prospect of all time, and I had a lot of good skill sets. I had great boxing, I had good wrestling, but I had a rude awakening early on, and I just knew that after looking at that, I was very, very green. And so being with the coaches here, I really progressed rapidly.
“I think for me, I’m surprising myself every day and how fast I’m developing and it was a blessing. I don’t really pay attention to those losses. I think those guys know that if we fought now, it’d be a different story, but hey, what could you do? Sh*t happens, and I’m not worried about that anymore. That’s the past. I’m looking onto the future, and I would take on these guys any day of the week, and I’d beat them all three in one night to be honest with you. I really would.”