NEW YORK -- The #BellatorNYC fight card is littered with some of the biggest names in the sport, but a man who is 0-0 and making his MMA debut on Saturday is more than holding his own when it comes to media coverage.
American wrestling sensation Aaron Pico will make his Bellator MMA bow in two days time when he faces Zach Freeman in the fight third from the top of the #BellatorNYC pay-per-view card.
Plenty of excitement surrounds Pico's debut and the spotlight has been on him all week with ESPN news features, USA Today columns and even Scott Coker himself giving the 20-year-old a shout out at the start of this morning's press conference.
Speaking exclusively to Champions.co earlier today, Pico explained that this was business as usual as far as he's concerned and he said that he's been dealing with such attention all his life.
"Even at a young age, I was always competing at the highest sporting level I could, so I've always been in the spotlight," Pico said. "Even as a kid everyone used to watch me wrestle, all the way from high-school to the world championships so this is nothing new to me. My training gives me confidence though and I can easily say it's the best in the world. Nobody trains like us and I'm going to get the job done."
Pico's sole focus in the next few days will be Freeman, but after that he's got his eyes on facing a certain Irishman, James Gallagher. The two were involved in a verbal altercation earlier this week which ended with the hotel security stepping in to cool the situation down. Pico gave his version of events.
"I was just sitting there with my dad and my team and he walked up and said, 'Who's running no p*ssy?' I just got up, said some words, my Dad also got up and said some words. He was there just acting like a clown. People say he's trying to act like Conor McGregor, but let me tell you this, Conor McGregor would never act that much of an idiot. He's a true professional and not even his wife would be in the middle trying to egg things on. He needs to be himself and not be a bad version of Conor McGregor."
When asked why there is tension between the two of them, Pico explained that it was because the Irishman had previously turned down a fight with him and that he wouldn't admit it publicly.
"He turned down a fight me, I want to fight him, but I don't think he's ever going to take it," Pico said. "After this fight with Freeman I want Gallagher. He needs to take a fight with either me or AJ McKee. You can't go there, run your mouth and then say you don't want to fight him. That's just not how it should be. He's confident in himself, but obviously his team isn't because they turn down fights. I just don't know why he doesn't say he's not ready. I'll tell him one thing though, he shouldn't ever mention my name again if he isn't going to fight me."
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