It took some adjusting and stress management, but Olivier Aubin-Mercier is now a PFL champion.
At 2022 PFL Championships, Aubin-Mercier (17-5) knocked out Stevie Ray in the second round to become the lightweight champion, capping off the four-fight grind with a title and the $1 million prize. “The Canadian Gangster” admits the year was tough to get through, but he believes it was worth it.
“It’s not necessarily the fights by themself that were hard, it’s really everything around it,” Aubin-Mercier told reporters at the post-fight press conference (via MMA Sucka). “I mean, four fights in a year, even less than a year, maybe nine months. It was insane and right now I feel so proud of this accomplishment and it’s going to stay with me all my life.”
Aubin-Mercier had 13 fights under the UFC banner before joining the PFL in 2021. Since the switch, he made changes to his training such as eliminating sparring, largely due to the hectic PFL schedule which does not allow for much recovery time between fights.
“I think when I was in the UFC, I was training so hard and always trying to push myself to the limit,” Aubin-Mercier said. “I don’t think it’s the right way, actually. I was training until the last week (before a fight), which was crazy. Now, I really take it more easy. Some training are hard, but other are just to get fit or get better. I think that was the big difference, for me to be a little bit smarter about my training camp.”
During fight week, Aubin-Mercier admitted he has entertained the thought of retirement due to the wear and tear from his career and the grind of the PFL season. However, after reaching the championship and claiming the $1 million prize, he may hang around a little longer.
“I’m not f*cking leaving!” Aubin-Mercier joked. “I mean, I hated everything about this week. Like, it was too much stress. … Like I said, it’s four fights in one year. It’s pretty hard on the body, but yeah, I think I can give it one more year.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2022 PFL Championships.