There were also big victories, as well as multiple changes of scenery. Pico (5-3 MMA, 5-3 BMMA) said he was extremely comfortable having fully settled down with Jackson Wink MMA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and now he’s ready to thrive in his game. featherweight with Solo Hatley Jr. (8-2 MMA), 1-0 BMMA) Friday at Bellator 242.
“I’ve had a lot of time to really spend with JW’s coaches and I’ve really, really grown as a martial artist,” Pico told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “I’m really happy with my mental state, and I just have to go Friday night and compete, which I’ve been doing all my life. That’s how I see things.
Pico said that when he started his fighting career he “didn’t know (curse)” what it really meant to be successful in MMA. He said he relied heavily on his raw talent and wrestling experience, but now that has all changed.
For Pico, there are lessons to be learned from the whole fighting game. He said he had been watching one particular person lately, and named UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman as someone he wanted to emulate afterwards. Pico has said he recognizes Usman might have a bit of warmth in his approach in fights, but the results are undeniable and Pico sees the value.
“My favorite fighter right now is Kamaru Usman, and I really, really watch a lot of stripes on him,” Pico said. “Yeah, he doesn’t get a lot of knockouts, but he wins. He’s winning, he’s coming out of the fight and he’s healthy, and that’s something I put in my head. Of course, I want to be exciting, but I want to win. This is the most important thing. I want to get the W and whatever it takes to do it, I will. I want to be smart. I don’t want to be touched and I want to go home, have no marks on me and be healthy.
Pico, 23, said he thinks his style is naturally conducive to excitement, but no longer comes into the cage with the mentality he Needs to produce a climax. He expects that mindset to pay off against Hatley at Bellator 242, which airs on Paramount and airs on DAZN after preliminaries on MMA Junkie.
“I have to be smart,” Pico said. “I really want to have a good, healthy career. This is the most important thing I have talked about with the coaches – using my skills, being smart. If the knockout is there, so much the better. But I’m not going to say, “I have to get the knockout”. The most important is my health, my safety and the fact of outperforming my opponent. If it’s a knockout, if it knocks him down and beats him to the ground, I’ll do whatever it takes to win.