Bob Cook has seen just about it all in his career as an MMA fighter and trainer — helping develop the careers of Cain Velasquez, Daniel Cormier, Frank Shamrock, Cung Le, and many more.
So when the American Kickboxing Academy trainer described 18 year old Aaron Pico as MMA’s greatest prospect — “someone from a different world” as he put it, back in January with Dave Meltzer, it raised some attention.
Among those were Bellator President Scott Coker, who unveiled his new-look promotional style last night at Bellator 131, and also announced that Pico, who still intends to contend in the 2016 Olympics as a wrestler, had been signed to Bellator.
“Simply put, Aaron has all the makings of MMA’s next great superstar, and to have him here at Bellator is something special,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in a press release. “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. I’m not only excited to see what Aaron is going to be able to do in our cage, but also watching him represent our country in 2016 at the Olympics.”
Among Pico’s wrestling credentials are the FILA Cadet World Championship, Outstanding Wrestler honors at Junior and Cadet Nationals, and US National Championships at both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. As a boxer, he won both Junior Golden Gloves and PAL National titles. He has been training in MMA since age 13.
For more about Bellator 131, see our play-by-play thread.