Featherweight prospect Aaron Pico has been watching a lot of tape ahead of his return to the cage against Solo Hately Jr. at Bellator 242 this weekend.

Pico will look to stretch his winning run to two at the Mohegan Sun Arena is a in Uncasville, Connecticut on Friday night. The 23-year-old has so far failed to live up to his mammoth potential suffering three defeats just eight fights into his professional career.

Speaking at the Bellator 242 virtual media day to press members including LowKickMMA Pico revealed he constantly watches tape to help him improve as a fighter, he said.

“I watch tape of everybody. [I watch] my opponent, Kamrau Usman, Khabib [Nurmagomedov], Valentina [Shevchenko], Amanda [Nunes], [Jose] Aldo, Petr Yan, I’m watching everybody. I watch five or six fights a day. I wake up in the morning, watch two fights, go to practice and watch more fights.

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“I really, really studied the game. After all the losses, I really truly fell in love with the sport of MMA. I really love it and I’m learning a lot. I hope to be a world champion.”

Pico went on to name Kamaru Usman, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Valentina Schevchenko as his favourite fighters, he said.

“My top-three favorite fighters are Kamaru Usman, Khabib and Valentina. I love those fighters and, of course, there’s a lot of great fighters out there.

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“I watch a lot of Kamaru Usman. I love his style. Some people think his last fight was boring, I thought it was beautiful. He got the win and, most importantly, he retained the belt.”

Hatley Jr. was vocal about Pico’s lack of chin during the virtual media day but the young fighter isn’t too concerned with his opponent or anything he says.

“I just see myself going out there and competing,” Pico stated. “I know he’s confident, which I really like, but I just have to use my skills and not worry about it being a fight. It’s competition, I need to be smart, I’ve got to be strategic and do what I have to do to win.

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“I’m not really worried too much about him. I think he’s the one who is starstruck, ‘I’m fighting Aaron Pico. He’s not this, he’s not that.’ I’m not really focused on him. I’m focused on myself, calming my emotions down, and competing. It sounds like he’s more worried about me. He’s so worried about me, but sometimes you need to just focus on yourself.” (Transcribed by MMA Fighting)

Do you think Aaron Pico can improve his game by studying these great fighters?