Aaron Pico, who signed a contract with Bellator MMA despite plans to pursue a gold medal at the Olympics before shifting his focus to mixed martial arts, won the Henri Deglane Challenge recently in France.
Pico is a well-decorated wrestler on the national level, even though he is just a high school senior in age. The standout defeated Armenia’s David Safaryan to claim the gold medal. Safaryan won the 2013 world freestyle title.
He also earned a win over 2013 Junior World silver medalist Davit Berdznishvili of Georgia in the semifinals after three consecutive technical falls to advance. His win over Berdznishvili was a 10-5 decision.
Already during his career, Pico has won the FILA national title in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, the Junior nationals for USA Wrestling and both state and national titles as a prep. He is expected to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics and maybe the 2020 Olympics before moving into MMA.
Pico trains out of the American Kickboxing Academy gym, which is also the home to UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and top challengers Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold.