Bellator 183 goes down this weekend and it will see the return on Aaron Pico following his debut in his MMA defeat at Bellator NYC earlier this year.
After his loss to Zach Freeman, Pico made changes to his training setup and back in July we reported that he was now a member of the Bodyshop MMA team in California. Speaking to MMAUNO.com last week, Pico confirmed the move.
“Yeah I’m with Bodyshop MMA,” Pico said. “My approach to that we got some amazing guys down there. AJ [McKee], Joey [Davis], Baby Slice and some other guys that aren’t with big organizations yet, but that are really good.”
Pico went on to explain why he made the move and the benefits of working with a coach like Antonio Mckee.
“I’ve known AJ and Antonio since I was 6 years-old in wrestling,” Pico said. “Antonio has a wealth of knowledge in the fight game and he knows my wrestling game as well as anyone. He saw me boxing and he saw me do everything basically. Being able to go to him has been crucial for me as it’s helped me craft all my styles together. I’ve not before had that coach who has helped me blend it all together.
“He’s helped me figure out what all my weaknesses were and he’s got a similar sort of style to me—being able to take guys down and use ground and pound. If you want to know how to hone in on that style, you go to Antonio McKee because he’s a straight killer. He knows the game and he’s open minded. I love being around people like that and he’s open to learn and study the game.”
Rumours are circulating that Antonio Mckee could be in line for a return to active competition under the Bellator banner later this year. For the minute though, he remains head coach at Bodyshop and Pico praised his teaching abilities.
“Yeah he’s the king at that gym,” Pico said. “He’s one of the strongest guys I’ve ever wrestled with and I’ve wrestled with the best in the world. Olympic gold medalists, European champions, everything. He’s the strongest guy I’ve ever wrestled and it’s crazy. His grip strength is unbelievable and he laughs it off like it’s nothing.
“What I like about Antonio and working with him is the fact that he doesn’t use his brute force. He focuses on the technique and that for me is the sign of a true teacher, somebody who can do everything they say they are going to do and not have to use their brute strength. For sure, when he’s going with you, he uses his strength, but he’s not trying to overpower you. He tries to teach you the technique and for me that’s a true teacher.”
Pico’s next fight will be at featherweight. The step down from lightweight means he’s now plying his trade in the same weight class as training partner, AJ Mckee. Pico said this wasn’t an issue and that he the prospect of the two fighting is out of the question.
“It’s not awkward at all,” Pico said. “I’ve known him for a long time and we’re like really good friends. As far as going and fighting each other, no I don’t see that happening. We’re training partners and that won’t happen.
“At the end of the day, AJ has no ego, I have no ego. We’re there to make each other better. I help him out and he helps me out. We just do our thing. It’s a family there and that would way too awkward to think about ever fighting him.”