Olivier Aubin-Mercier – ‘The Quebec Kid’ Through His Fighting Years

Olivier Aubin Mercier

One of the best-known athletes to come out of Quebec in recent years is mixed martial artist Olivier Aubin-Mercier. His career has been anything but conventional, and this is part of what makes him the fighter and entertaining performer that he is.

MMA is an exciting sport, so to stand out in that brutal environment requires something special. The Quebec MMA fighter seems to have that something.

At 33 years of age, Aubin-Mercier could be described as a veteran of MMA. He’s led a career with ups and downs. In New York at the end of November he pulled off one of the greatest wins of his career. But as we’re about to discover it’s not always been smooth sailing for Aubin-Mercier.

Aubin-Mercier wins first PFL Championship

Olivier Aubin-Mercier defeated Stevie Ray in the 2022 Season PFL Championships. This fight was the culmination of a hard year in which Aubin-Mercier was tasked with beating just about every significant competitor in the PFL.

This is the Quebec fighter’s first title in the PFL, and he’s achieved it in only his second season with the organisation. Aubin-Mercier spent most of the 2021 season injured, and only managed one regular-season fight. So to win a championship in what is effectively his first full PFL season is a great accomplishment.

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This is all a far cry from 2019 when the fighter’s contract with the UFC ran out and he wasn’t offered a new one. This came on the back of three consecutive defeats in the organisation.

Losing out on a contract with the UFC is a major blow to any MMA fighter. The UFC is regarded as the organisation to be involved in. It’s where all the big names are, and it has the biggest pay cheques. As a huge sport in North America, MMA is also one of the more popular markets for those interested in online sports betting in Quebec, which adds a level of publicity for the fighters featured. Those competing elsewhere – like Aubin-Mercier – are arguably missing out.

All after a promising UFC start

Aubin-Mercier originally joined the UFC organisation by taking part in the 2014 reality TV show, The Ultimate Fighter Nations. Dana White was part of the production, and Aubin-Mercier impressed while winning his Welterweight bracket competition.

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In 2014, things were going well for the Quebec native. He fought at UFC Fight Night 54, defeating Jake Lindsey, and winning the Performance of the Night award with his second-round submission. There were ups and downs over the next couple of years, with his progress blighted by withdrawals and fights getting dropped from cards. But after a scheduled fight against Gilbert Burns was scrapped in early 2018, Aubin-Mercier got the break he was looking for.

In April 2018, he fought at UFC 223, on the preliminary card of the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Al Iaquinta fight, since made even more infamous by Conor McGregor attacking their bus. On the night, inside the hexagon, Aubin-Mercier defeated Evan Dunham, winning Performance of the Night. Surely, this was the Canadian’s pathway into the big time at the UFC?

Sadly not. The next three fights for Aubin-Mercier ended in defeat. First, he lost to Alexander Hernandez in July 2018, and when he eventually got his fight with Gilbert Burns at UFC 231 in December 2018, he lost via unanimous decision. Finally, the Canadian was beaten by Arman Tsarukyan at UFC 240 in July 2019, again by unanimous decision. With that, his UFC contract wasn’t renewed. 

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Aubin-Mercier doesn’t sound bitter about it though. In a recent interview, he admitted that maybe he didn’t make the best career choices and that his omission was more down to that than a lack of ability.

There is a life after UFC

Where one door closes, another opens. Olivier Aubin-Mercier has now found a new home in the PFL organisation. He has proved that the UFC isn’t the be-all and end-all and that success can be found outside of the organisation.

His first title win last month could be the springboard to more success next season. He has shown he has the pedigree by beating the top guys in his division, and he’s now the man to beat when the 2023 PFL season gets underway.