September 23, 1996
Whittier, California, United States
|Residence||Whittier, California, United States|
|Height||5 ft 8 in (173 cm)|
|Weight||145 lb (66 kg; 10.4 st)|
|Division||Lightweight (155 lbs) (2017) |
Featherweight (145 lbs) (2017–present)
|Reach||70+1⁄2 in (179 cm)|
|Style||Wrestling, Boxing, Pankration|
|Fighting out of||Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.|
|Team||American Kickboxing Academy (2014–2017) |
The Body Shop MMA (2017–2019)
Jackson Wink MMA Academy (2019–present)
|Trainer||Greg Jackson (Head Coach)|
Valentin Kalika, Sazhid Sazhidov (formerly) (Wrestling)
Sam Calavitta (Strength and Conditioning)
Roberto Alencar (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)
Freddie Roach (Boxing)
|Rank||Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Roberto Alencar|
|Wrestling||Olympic Freestyle Wrestling |
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Aaron Pico (born September 23, 1996) is an American mixed martial artist and former freestyle wrestler who currently competes in the featherweight division of Bellator MMA. As a freestyle wrestler, Pico competed at 65 kilograms, where he placed second at 2016 US Olympic Team Trials and holds multiple national and international championships. In the age–group, he was a two–time Junior World Championship medalist and a Cadet World Champion. As of August 24, 2021, he is #5 in the Bellator Featherweight Rankings.
Pico is a seventh-generation Californio and a member of the Pico family of California, as great-great-great-great-grandson of Pío Pico, 10th Governor of Alta California. He started boxing at the age of ten and also competed in Pankration tournaments.
Pico started wrestling at the age of four, while also competing in multiple other combat sports. During his freshman year of high school, Pico capped off a perfect 42–0 season at St. John Bosco High School and won the CIF state championship at 132 pounds. Afterwards, Pico would compete in freestyle, and after making the US Cadet World Team, he claimed the Cadet World Championship at 63 kilograms. He would also make his senior freestyle debut at age 18, defeating Alibeggadzhi Emeev in a lopsided decision in a dual meet against Russia. In a surprising turn of events, Pico, the top–ranked high school wrestler in the country, signed major endorsement contracts with Dethrone Royalty, an MMA lifestyle apparel company, and a multi–year shoe endorsement with Nike, turning into a professional athlete in 2014. This led him unable to compete in collegiate wrestling as per the rules of the NCAA, but Pico announced he intended to focus solely in freestyle to continue a mixed martial arts career after a 2016 Summer Olympic run, foregoing further education. Before his MMA debut, Pico explained:
“I always had it in mind that I would be an MMA fighter. I’m not going to waste my time with four, five years of college and get my MMA career started. I said I’m going to be in MMA so, I want to try and make this Olympic team, win a gold and then become a MMA fighter.”
In 2014, Pico claimed the US Junior National Championship in April when he flawlessly defeated outstanding NCAA All–American from Penn State Zain Retherford in the finals, and went on to defeat him two more times in June for the US Junior World Team spot. In July, Pico competed in the senior level, claiming a silver medal from the prestigious Grand Prix of Spain, falling to Yasar Dogu International champion Frank Chamizo. In August, he competed at the Junior World Championships, where he defeated the eventual accomplished Daichi Takatani first round, and went on to defeat four more points by technical fall before facing eventual 2016 Olympic Gold medalist from Iran Hassan Yazdani, whom he lost to on points. In October, he placed third at the prestigious Soslan Andiev International in Russia. In November, he claimed his first senior level gold medal, winning the Henri Deglane Grand Prix, earning the biggest win of his career over 2013 World Champion from Armenia David Safaryan in the finals.
To start off the year, he competed at the Golden Grand Prix Ivan Yarygin in January, placing 21st after losing first round to Akhmed Chakaev. In February, he claimed the Cerro Pelado International championship, defeating Pan American champions, Franklin Marén and Alejandro Valdés, and two–time US World Team Member Reece Humphrey. In April 6, Pico fell to Dan Hodge Trophy winner Brent Metcalf in a dual meet against Iowa. He then went back to the junior level to claim the US National Championship in May and the US World Team spot in June, defeating Zain Retherford three times in the process. In August, Pico placed third at the Junior World Championships, bringing a bronze medal to the United States. Back to the senior level, Pico placed fifth at the Intercontinental Cup, third at the Bill Farrell International and fourth at the US Nationals (qualifying for the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials) before the year ended.
To open up the Olympic year, he moved up to 70 kilograms for two tournaments, placing fifth at the Ukrainian International Open and third at the Alexander Medved Prizes, compiling notable victories over three–time NCAA champion Nazar Kulchytskyy, 2010 Asian Games Gold medalist from Mongolia Ganzorigiin Mandakhnaran and 2015 U23 European Continental medalist from Belarus Andrei Karpach. At the US Olympic Team Trials, Pico defeated 2010 NCAA champion Jason Ness, two–time NCAA champion and US National runner–up Jordan Oliver and three–time US National champion Reece Humphrey to make the best–of–three. In the finals, he faced reigning Pan American champion and 2012 NCAA champion Frank Molinaro, whom he was 2–1 against. After defeating Molinaro first round, Pico was downed twice in razor close matches, losing his opportunity of becoming an Olympian at age 19. This was Pico's last wrestling match before transitioning into MMA.
Boxing and pankration
In addition to wrestling, Pico also competed in boxing and Pankration. Pico won the national PAL championship in 2008 and was national Junior Golden Gloves champion in 2009, he won ‘most outstanding boxer’ at both tournaments. In Pankration, Pico also was a national champion in 2008. In addition, Pico went to Ukraine in 2010, and won the golden cup European Pankration championship. During this time Pico also won the California state championships in both sports.
Mixed martial arts career
Aaron Pico was offered and signed major endorsement contracts with Dethrone Royalty, an MMA lifestyle apparel company owned by Nick Swinmurn, founder of Zappos and ownership partner of the Golden State Warriors.
In early November 2014, Aaron signed a long term unprecedented contract with MMA promoter Bellator MMA and its parent company Viacom, as their new blue chip prospect. Pico is versed in wrestling, amateur MMA and boxing and has multiple wins under his belt. Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker states, "Simply put, Aaron has all the makings of MMA's next great superstar, and to have him here at Bellator MMA is something special. Like many of us in the MMA community, Aaron is someone we've been watching closely over the last few years, and after sitting down with Bob Cook and his team, getting a chance to meet Aaron, and hearing his long-term aspirations, the fit became very obvious."
Pico was expected to face Aiden Lee on April 16, 2021 at Bellator 257.  However, on April 4, Pico had to pull out of the bout due to medical issues.  The fight eventually took place at Bellator 260 on June 11, 2021. He won the fight via submission in the third round.
Pico and his wife Kylie have a son, Valentino (born 2021).
Championships and accomplishments
- Freestyle wrestling
- 2016 US Olympic Team Trials Senior Men Freestyle 65 kg 2nd place
- 2016 Alexander Medved International Senior Men Freestyle 65 kg Bronze Medal
- 2015 Cerro Pelado International Senior Men Freestyle 65 kg Champion – Havana, Cuba
- 2014 Henri Deglane Challenge Senior Men Freestyle 65 kg Champion – Nice, France
- 2014 Soslan Andiyev Senior Men Freestyle 70 kg Bronze Medal – North Ossetia – Alania, Russia
- 2014 Grand Prix of Spain Senior Men Freestyle 65 kg Silver Medal – Madrid, Spain
- 2008 Desert Showdown Champ – Indio, CA
- 2008 California State PAL Champ – Oxnard, CA
- 2008 National PAL Champ – Tournament Outstanding Boxer Award– Oxnard, CA
- 2009 Desert Showdown Champ – Indio, CA
- 2009 National Junior Golden Gloves Championship Champ – Mesquite, NV Tournament Outstanding Boxer Award
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|11 matches||8 wins||3 losses|
|Win||8–3||Aiden Lee||Submission (anaconda choke)||Bellator 260||June 11, 2021||3||1:33||Uncasville, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||7–3||John de Jesus||KO (punch)||Bellator 252||November 12, 2020||2||4:12||Uncasville, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||6–3||Chris Hatley||Submission (rear-naked choke)||Bellator 242||July 24, 2020||1||2:10||Uncasville, Connecticut, United States|
|Win||5–3||Daniel Carey||KO (punch)||Bellator 238||January 25, 2020||2||0:15||Inglewood, California, United States|
|Loss||4–3||Ádám Borics||TKO (flying knee and punches)||Bellator 222||June 14, 2019||2||3:55||New York City, New York, United States|
|Loss||4–2||Henry Corrales||KO (punches)||Bellator 214||January 26, 2019||1||1:07||Inglewood, California, United States|
|Win||4–1||Leandro Higo||TKO (punches)||Bellator 206||September 29, 2018||1||3:19||San Jose, California, United States|
|Win||3–1||Lee Morrison||TKO (punches)||Bellator 199||May 12, 2018||1||1:10||San Jose, California, United States|
|Win||2–1||Shane Krutchen||KO (punch to the body)||Bellator 192||January 20, 2018||1||0:37||Inglewood, California, United States|
|Win||1–1||Justin Linn||KO (punch)||Bellator 183||September 24, 2017||1||3:45||San Jose, California, United States||Featherweight debut.|
|Loss||0–1||Zach Freeman||Submission (guillotine choke)||Bellator 180||June 24, 2017||1||0:24||New York City, New York, United States||Lightweight debut.|
Junior freestyle record
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- "Dake beats Taylor for U.S. Open title at heavier weight". WIN Magazine. 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2021-04-07.
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- "Bellator NYC results: Huge underdog Zach Freeman chokes out Aaron Pico in 24 seconds". MMAjunkie. 2017-06-25. Retrieved 2017-06-25.
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- Fernanda Prates (January 18, 2018). "Bellator 192's Aaron Pico's fight day: Cold-pressed juice, grass-fed meats and church". mmajunkie.com.
- Mike Bohn (January 20, 2018). "Bellator 192 results: Aaron Pico scores 37-second KO with body shot". mmajunkie.com.
- "Video: Aaron Pico disintegrates Shane Kruchten with body punch at Bellator 192".
- Guilherme Cruz (April 3, 2018). "Aaron Pico returns against Lee Morrison at Bellator 199". mmafighting.com.
- Simon Samano (May 12, 2018). "Bellator 199 results: Aaron Pico lands huge body shot for second straight TKO victory". mmajunkie.com.
- "Elite prospect Aaron Pico matched up with Leandro Higo at Bellator 206". Sherdog.com. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
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- Alexander K. Lee (May 12, 2019). "Aaron Pico to fight unbeaten Adam Borics at Bellator 222". mmafighting.com.
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- Farah Hannoun (December 3, 2019). "Adam Borics vs. Darrion Caldwell grand prix matchup set for Bellator 238". mmafighting.com.
- "Bellator 238 results: Live 'Cyborg vs Budd' streaming play-by-play updates". MMAMania.com. January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
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- Morgan, John (25 February 2021). "Aaron Pico targeted for return at Bellator 257 vs. England's Aiden Lee". MMA Junkie. Retrieved 27 February 2021.
- "Aaron Pico vs. Aiden Lee off Bellator 257; promotion eyes rebooking". MMA Junkie. 4 April 2021. Retrieved 4 April 2021.
- "Aaron Pico vs. Aiden Lee rebooked for Bellator 260 on June 11". MMA Junkie. 2021-05-25. Retrieved 2021-05-25.
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- "Sources: Pico, Gonzales agree for Bellator 271". ESPN.com. 2021-10-14. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
- "Photos: Wrestler Aaron Pico, a Pio Pico descendant".
- "Freestyle Wrestling World Cup - L.A." www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2020-06-22.
- Aaron Pico [@aaronpicousa] (August 6, 2021). "Hey guys just want to check in. Everything is going well! Been off social media for a little bit, Kylie and I had our son Valentino Pico July 31st!" – via Instagram.
- "UPDATE: Pico, Anthony, Maroulis win golds at Henri Deglane Challenge in France". Team USA.
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