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Like many, Pico (12-4), who has spent the entirety of his MMA career fighting under the Bellator banner, finds himself largely in the dark in terms of the plans for his future after PFL’s acquisition of Bellator. He’s fortunate enough to find himself on the inaugural card of this new era for PFL, however, it’s unknown where a win or loss will take him.
With the possibility of fighting under PFL’s reimagined Bellator brand, in a PFL season or on a PFL pay-per-view, there are multiple compelling avenues for Pico moving forward.
“When a big decision like that is presented to me and I have some options to figure out,” Pico told MMA Junkie. “I’ll sit down with my coaches and my manager and my family and figure out what is the best thing. I haven’t really given it too much thought. I haven’t heard anything about the Bellator-PFL thing. All the news that I got was, ‘Get ready for this fight Feb. 24.’ That’s all my brain can handle.”
Pico has long dreamt of claiming the Bellator title, but with the long-term future of the promotion largely unclear, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether that dream will remain realistic. What is realistic, though, is that Pico will have something significant to strive for, and that’s enough to keep him motivated.
“Of course that is a big goal of mine to win the Bellator belt,” Pico said. “That’s something that I’ve set out to do. But I have the mindset now that wherever I end up, no matter what happens, nothing is impossible. Wherever I’m at I’m going to try to conquer that. Whether it’s fighting for a Bellator belt, I’ll fight for the Bellator belt. Fight for the PFL? I’ll fight off the PFL belt. Anywhere that I’m put into I want to be the best. So wherever that may, only time will tell. I just have to do my job. It’s as simple as that. Win, and winning solves everything.”
Pico, 27, will get one of the best PFL has to offer on the PFL vs. Bellator card, which takes place Feb. 24 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (ESPN+ pay-per-view). Braga (12-1) made it to the finals of the 2023 PFL featherweight season before suffering a TKO loss to Jesus Pinedo, and the 25-year-old Brazilian brings a unique quality that Pico has to account for going into fight night.
It’s the toughest test of my career,” Pico said. “He’s young. He’s younger than me, which is the first time fighting someone younger than me. I’ve been fighting guys that are a lot older. But he’s a great striker, great on the ground. This is going to be a great fight for us, so I’m ready to go test myself and win.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for PFL vs. Bellator: Champions.
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