As he prepares to go for a second straight PFL lightweight title after claiming the belt and $1 million prize in 2022, the 34-year-old French Canadian knows the clock is ticking on his time left in the sport. He’s not going to make any rash decisions just yet, but he acknowledges that he’s got some big decisions to make after he competes on Nov. 24.
“I do think it’s the last tournament and it could even be my last fight,” Aubin-Mercier revealed in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I’m going to talk to PFL after, but it could be my last fight.
“I’m getting a little bit tired. I’m going to take a break, think about it and see how I feel and have the conversation with PFL, and I’m going to decide after that.”
While the PFL was built around the season-long format, the promotion already plans to change things up in 2024 with the launch of the “super fight” series on pay-per-view, which is expected to include former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in his PFL debut.
That option could also be available to Aubin-Mercier, especially if he’s crowned a two-time PFL champion. But that’s not really what’s weighing on his mind.
“To be honest, nothing really excites me,” he said. “I don’t really care. If I have one more fight to do, I would like it to be in Montreal. If it’s not in Montreal, I don’t even think I’m going to do it. I do understand they won’t come here to a do a pay-per-view in Montreal just because of me. I’m going to talk to PFL. We’re going to see the options.
“But my goal is to bring PFL to Montreal, and if that doesn’t happen, I don’t feel useful for people in Quebec or people in PFL. I’m at that point where I want to do more. I don’t just want to fight. I want to have a goal with the fight that I’m going to do. My goal is to bring the PFL and I think that could be it.”
As much as Aubin-Mercier wants to bring the PFL to his hometown, that’s not going to be his first priority after fighting Collard on Friday. More than anything, he just wants an extended break to rest his mind and body after two grueling years in the PFL tournament.
According to Aubin-Mercier, he needs to hit the reset button, and that will allow him the time to gain clarity on possibly fighting again or not.
“For sure, I’m going to take a big break after that [fight],” he said. “Not even an option. Take a big break after this fight. A year minimum so let’s see what happens.
“That’s why I don’t put too much pressure on myself, I’ll have a year to think about that.”
Since leaving the UFC, Aubin-Mercier has rattled off nine consecutive wins in a row with three knockouts in his past four fights. It turns out these peak performances have actually played a part in his contemplating retirement, because there’s no better way to go out than on top.
“It’s a dangerous sport,” he said. “A year could be a big difference in this sport. I feel in training, I don’t feel like I’m any less good than before. Actually, I feel better than I did before. With that being said, sometimes in training it’s different.
“Like I said, I’m going to do my last fight this year and it could be it. If that’s it, everything is perfect in my mind. Finish on a 10-fight winning streak, 25 fights, two world titles, it’s going to be great. I’m not really worried about my future. It would be really great to leave the sport like this.”