Aaron Pico is puppy-ish when you speak to him, panther-like when you have to fight him. Still a tyro, but already with a sickening highlight reel from his merciless hands after eighteen months and five fights as a professional mixed martial artist. Aside from perhaps flyweight Henry Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist coming into the MMA fight world, Pico has been the most touted prospect in the history of mixed martial arts.
Fight promotion Bellator sign his fights, and then let the 21-year-old off the leash. Leash is apt, too, because the kidfrom Los Angeles fights like a starving pitbull released into a cage at opponents. Saturday night at The Forum, here in Lalaland, the 22-year-old will make his sixth walk to the cage accompanied by Dr Dre’s ‘Nuthin But A G Thang’, against experienced Henry Corrales, ten years his senior. But age is nothing but a number in the fight-o-sphere.
Pico, training like a Trojan from the age of seven, visiting far-flung Dagestan and Asia for the toughest training he could find in this sport of decathlon fighting skills, had a baptism of fire, losing in his professional debut at Madison Square Garden. But he is in decent company there: the same happened to the formidable Brazilian Renan Barao, who thereafter went on a 32-fight win streak.