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Bellator 286: Aaron Pico’s advice to Bo Nickal 6 years removed from his own ‘top prospect’ label

Aaron Pico had some important words for his close friend, Bo Nickal as he prepares for his UFC debut.

Aaron Pico is stepping into the Bellator cage for the 14th time at Bellator 286. In six years, he’s put together an impressive 10-3 record but hasn’t reached the level of title challenger yet. Pico was once regarded as a “hot prospect” in mixed martial arts with the whole world in front of him. Now, that label has stuck to Bo Nickal as he’s set the UFC on fire. Pico is familiar with Nickal in ways many in MMA aren’t and had some important words for his friend.

“I love Bo Nickal,” Pico said when interviewed by Amy Kaplan of FanSided MMA. “We were on three world teams together. I know him very well through wrestling. He’s a hard worker and comes from a really good family.”

Pico understands what it means to be labeled a top prospect

Back in 2017, Pico was that prospect many expected to push his way to an opportunity at Bellator gold. That would not be the case as Zach Freeman dispatched him in highlight-reel fashion at Bellator 180. Pico would pick up wins to follow, but after dropping back-to-back fights in 2019, many questioned whether he was rushed too soon. Pico looked back on his experience and offered advice to Nickal.

“Take your time. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the process,” Pico said. “Just stay focused. I don’t think Nickal is not going to be focused. He has a really good team around him, but more importantly, he has a solid family.”

After two quick performances on Dana White’s Contender Series, Nickal already has a UFC debut scheduled at UFC 282 when he takes on Jamie Pickett on December 10. With three professional fights on his resume so far, none of his opponents have lasted more than 62 seconds in the cage, leading many fans and professional fighters alike to dub Nickal as the hottest prospect in the industry, a label that Pico remembers.

“I think he’s going to do great things,” Pico said. “I’m rooting for him and I hope he becomes a world champion.”

Bellator 286: Pitbull versus Borics takes place on Saturday, October 1, 2022, live from the Long Beah Arena, in Long Beach, California. Follow along with FanSided MMA for all your news and highlights.

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