PFL to Canada? Olivier Aubin-Mercier Wants to See “How Many People I Can Bring in the Arena”

Las Vegas — Now one of the biggest names in Canadian MMA, returning PFL lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier kicks off his 2023 season against Shane Burgos at PFL 3 on Friday night.

Drawing Burgos, who is making his promotional debut in the fight, was a bit a surprise to OAM, who thought Clay Collard might draw the assignment. But getting the big free agent name was some added motivation for Aubin-Mercier, who was looking for exactly that while debating whether he should return for another gruelling PFL season.

“It was a big question I asked myself this camp. And I went to the gym, I like training, I like everything, but motivation wasn’t there,” Aubin-Mercier (17-5) told media outlets including Cageside Press during the 2023 PFL 3 media day. “But this week, I remembered. I think it’s one of the first weeks I really had a lot of fun, being in Fight Week.”

As to what kept him going during fight camp while his motivation was lacking, the Canadian explained that “the good thing is, I’m passionate about sport. You cannot invent motivation, so you have to switch the way you think, and that’s what I did. I came into the gym with my coaches and with my training partners to learn new stuff. I really like to see new techniques on TV, from new creative fighters — I really like to take those techniques, work on those techniques, and try to improve like that.”

Of course, not every aspect of training is necessarily enjoyable that way. “The conditioning is not that fun but I found a way to motivate myself by beating myself, with all the statistics,” said OAM. “At the end of the training camp, I’m in a better shape than the first fight last year, so I’m happy. I did my homework, I was able to switch the way I see the fight, and I think it worked really well. I think I looked great in training camp, and the training camp was truly amazing.”

As a defending champ, Olivier Aubin-Mercier is now one of the top names in the Professional Fighters League. He hasn’t lost a bout since his UFC days, and has won six straight fights. Between himself and fellow Canuck Julia Budd, there’s now a push for the PFL to go to Canada, and the Montreal-based OAM has talked to the league about just that.

“They said maybe, but I think you guys have to put some more pressure on PFL to make it change,” Aubin-Mercier stated. “But yeah I would like to. It would be great. I fought in Canada a couple of times, but never when I was this high in my career. I would like to see how many people I could bring in the arena.”

Watch the full 2023 PFL 3 media day appearance by Olivier Aubin-Mercier above.