Rising star Aaron Pico got back to winning ways at Bellator 238 this weekend. The 23-year-old came into his fight against Daniel Carey on the back of two straight defeats. With the pressure on he delivered big time, scoring a highlight reel second round knockout to improve his record to 5-3 as a professional. Despite being impressed by Pico, Bellator President Scott Coker is not keen on giving the youngster big fights anytime soon. Speaking to media including MMA Junkie post event he said.

“Aaron Pico is back. He looked great. He had a great knockout, and I thought he was a fighter who had a lot of patience in there.” Coker said. “He wasn’t just rushing in, trying to finish. He looked like he took a step forward in his development as an athlete and a mixed martial arts fighter. I think Pico showed me you have to be patient in there and have to work certain things. What I saw was a patient fighter that wasn’t just looking for the one punch knockout, even though he knocked him out in the end.”

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“I’m proud of him, really. This is the thing, and as a promoter I always tell my athletes, ‘You have to continue to get better in something that you’re weak in. If you’re a grappler, don’t just grapple, go out there and work on your stand up, take some chances, because this is MMA. One day you’ll meet another grappler like you, and the stand-up is what’s going to make the difference.’ It’s their job to continue to grow, and I saw Aaron grow and lift today.”

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“I think that we should probably let him rest, but my goal is to have him back soon and maybe have him get another two or three fights before the end of the year. Maybe we can turn him loose at that point and have him fight some of the bigger guys. He has to prove that he can continue improving and rebuilding because, you know, if you’re the same fighter you were a year ago, you’re going to have a hard time. You have to grow, and I saw some growth today, but let’s see how he looks at the end of the year.”

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Can Aaron Pico still fulfil his potential and become Bellator champion?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.