Aaron Pico (3-1) has only been competing as a professional mixed martial artist for a little over a year. Yet in this short timeframe, the American wrestler has managed to establish himself as one of the most promising prospects on the Bellator roster — and he’s done so with a trio of thunderous knockout wins, showing he’s far more than just a wrestler.
This Saturday, on the main card of the stacked Bellator 206 card, Aaron Pico will take on the biggest test of his career thus far, as he battles an exponentially more experienced foe in former Bellator bantamweight title challenger Leandro Higo (18-4).
Despite the fact that he’s at a pretty significant experiential deficit against Higo, Aaron Pico is confident he can win this fight. He’s seen what his opponent can do, and he feels ready for it.
“Leandro’s the toughest test in my career,” Pico said on the latest episode of BJPENN.COM Radio. “I feel he’s just good everywhere. He’s got a wealth of knowledge. He’s been in the game for longer than I have. So yeah it’s gonna be no easy task. We’re prepared, and we know that we better bring our A-game come time to fight, so we’re ready.”
“I’ve seen tape on him,” he continued. “I’ve seen what he likes to do, and yeah I watched a lot of video on him. Not a crazy amount of video, cause it’s just something I don’t like to do, watch a bunch of video. I kind of just focus on what I want to do. But I’m aware of what he looks for and the certain things that his tendencies are, and I’m prepared.”
“I feel like I can hang with him on my feet. I could take him down. I could take the fight anywhere I want to go, and that’s a good feeling knowing that I have the conditioning. I have the gas tank. I’m ready. I’m ready to fight, to be honest with you. The pressure’s on him. It’s the biggest fight of his career, too. I know he fought [Bellator bantamweight champion] Darrion Caldwell last, but he’s never fought a guy like Aaron Pico and he probably never will, and I hope he’s ready because I know I’m ready.”
If Aaron Pico is able to defeat Leandro Higo, he’ll most likely be just a short distance away from a Bellator featherweight title shot — quite a feat considering he’s only fought professionally four times. While Pico will leave it up to the Bellator bosses to determine when he’s ready for a title shot, he’s definitely thinking about the possibility.
“I mean that’s above my pay grade,” Pico said of deciding when it’s time for a title shot. “Bellator obviously makes that final decision on the title, people who fight for the title. I know I’m capable of winning the Bellator World Title. There is no doubt in my mind. It’s just working my way to the top, but [a win over Higo] definitely puts me in a better position than I am in now. So yeah, I mean the only thing that I can control is becoming the best fighter I can be and having Bellator put those guys in front of me. But to answer your question, I feel like I can definitely become a world champion very soon.”
As Aaron Pico gears up for the next step of his march to the title, he encourages all fans to tune in and watch him do his thing against Higo at Bellator 206.
“I think people need to tune in cause you have two guys that are willing to go lay it all on the line,” he said. “Leandro Higo’s no slouch. He’s a Brazilian guy that’s very very tough, and I’m Aaron Pico, who’s ready to just go out there and put on a show like I have done the past three fights. So, that’s why I think you should tune in.”
Bellator 206 airs on the streaming service DAZN in North America. Stay tuned to BJPENN.COM for coverage of the event.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/27/2018.