Full contact with Olivier ‘The Canadian Gangster’ Aubin-Mercier ahead of UFC 231

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Get to know mixed martial artist Oliver Aubin-Mercier as he discusses life as a UFC fighter ahead of his bout with Gilbert Burns at UFC 231 in Toronto – Nov 29, 2018

The sound of slapping Thai boxing pads echos through Montreal’s world-famous Tristar Gym as professional mixed martial artist Olivier Aubin-Mercier trains for his upcoming appearance at UFC 231 in Toronto.

The Montreal native is set to face off against Brazilian Gilbert Burns in a lightweight fight at the Scotia Bank Arena on Dec. 8.

READ MORE: UFC 231 set for Toronto this December

The fight promises to be exciting, as both fighters are looking for redemption after suffering losses in their last bouts.

“The Canadian Gangster” saw his four-fight winning streak come to an end after a grinding three-round defeat by newcomer Alexander Hernandez in July.

Aubin-Mercier is predicting a fast-paced first- or second-round finish.

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The two were scheduled to come head-to-head in February, but Burns was deemed unfit to fight by the Florida State Athletic Commission because he was overweight, making him ineligible to compete.

Burns making weight for the upcoming bout does concern the Quebec fighter. He says he has high hopes Burns will slim down to the 155-pound goal.

Two weeks out from his 10th UFC appearance, Aubin-Mercier admits the gruelling regime is stressful.

“The week of the fight I hate it, but when I win I love it,” he admitted, adding that he feels fresh and on target to be at his fighting weight.

The charismatic and proud Canadian has been climbing the ranks in the UFC’s lightweight division since his octagon debut in 2014.

READ MORE: Mixed martial arts promoter pulls business from Edmonton

“Fighting is the only thing I know,” he said.

Recalling his childhood, the 29-year-old said classmates would often tattle to his parents when he hurt them while play fighting.

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Nevertheless, the two-time national Judo champion claims to be a true softy, especially when it comes to movies.

He says his killer instinct inside the cage doesn’t follow him outside, as the self-proclaimed foodie discovered during a recent quail hunting experience in Reno, Nev.

“I felt so bad,” he said, describing how he had to end the life of a bird he killed with a slingshot.

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Olivier Aubin-Mercier recounts hunting experience – Nov 29, 2018

Aubin-Mercier admits he didn’t enjoy hunting but says it was an eye-opening and poetic experience to take the life of an animal.

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He says everyone who eats meat should have that same emotion and connection with their food.

READ MORE: Surrey teenager’s amazing transformation, thanks to boxing

Formally known as the “Quebec kid” — a name given to him during his time on The Ultimate Fighter series — Aubin-Mercier recently changed his fighter persona and nickname.

“I didn’t like the ‘Quebec Kid’ nickname,” he said. “[The ‘Canadian Gangster’] is stupid, but it means something. It’s just more meaningful to me.”

The Canadian Gangster has  recently fallen out of the top 15 in arguably the most stacked division, but he hopes to achieve top 10 status by the end of 2019.

Aubin-Mercier also has grand aspirations outside the cage. He is the host of a newly launched podcast called Le Canadian Gangster Podcast

READ MORE: MMA fighter Cynthia Calvillo shaky, struggles to stand during UFC weigh-in

The laid-back French podcast aims to give more French-language MMA fighters a voice in a largely English-language media sporting environment.

“A lot of the French fighters do not have the opportunity to get known because they don’t speak English,” Aubin-Mercier said.

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Although in its infancy, the podcast is slowly gaining an audience thanks to Aubin-Mercier’s jokester charm.

He plans to potentially retire from professional fighting in three to four years.

“I truly don’t know what I am going to do [after],” Aubin-Mercier said, adding that he’s thinking of a possible future in multimedia digital design.

Aubin-Mercier and several other Canadian fighters can be seen on the free UFC 231 prelims starting at 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 8.

The main card airs on pay-per-view.

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