WASHINGTON DC | It’s hard to know what’s going through Olivier Aubin-Mercier’s head 24 hours before his fight in the Professional Fighters League (PFL) finals.
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The Montreal fighter will step into the Octagon during the final bout of the night to defend his lightweight title that he won last year. And he risks it being the last fight of his career.
“This is my last season, that’s for sure,” he insisted when we met him at training a month ago. If the PFL offers me a fight in Montreal with good money and my friends on the card, I might consider it, but otherwise I have nothing more to achieve. If I have another shot, I want everything to match. I want it to be good for me, for my fans and my training partners.”
So imagine how he feels as he approaches what could be the pinnacle of his career.
“I’m in a situation where I’m not sure how I feel,” he confided last month.
So why come back, especially since he already mentioned that motivation is less?
“I haven’t defended my belt yet, but I’m the champion in 2022 and I’ve fought three times since then, so I’m defending my honor and I feel super comfortable,” he explains from the start, but that’s not all.
“It’s to consolidate my status as an athlete in Quebec,” he admits. To be honest, I could stop there and be happy. I achieved what I wanted to achieve in my sport.
“Of course, to do it twice is a nice bonus, but when I look at a guy like Georges (Saint-Pierre) who has defended his title ten times, I feel small.”
The fact remains that he will be able to leave with his head held high because he feels that he has fulfilled his duty.
“I feel fortunate to have achieved all that I have achieved in my sport and to have some financial freedom.”
Don’t be afraid
Although he describes himself as lazy, we sense that Olivier Aubin-Mercier loves the discipline that comes with training. In fact, he enjoys working out the most. More than fighting.
“I say that I don’t like to fight, but first of all it no longer brings me the excitement I had when I was young, it no longer brings me negative sides like pressure and doubts because I question myself after every fight.
He also points out that the world of mixed martial arts comes with pressures different from those experienced by other athletes. As an example, he cites the fact that the wallet is cut in half in case of defeat.
“I’m not taking anything away from other sports, but I think being knocked out in front of everyone is the most humiliating thing,” he says, laughing. If you ask a hockey player if he would rather lose the game or if Georges Laraque beat him, I think he will say he would rather lose the game.
“I’m happy even if I lost a few fights. I’m not afraid to enter the octagon, I’m afraid to hurt my loved ones. It hurts me more than them. It’s hard to see the look your loved ones give you. It’s not condemnation, it’s sadness or pity, and that’s the worst feeling.”