PFL Exclusive: Stevie Ray says yoga saved his career ahead of $1million world title bout

Stevie Ray will be looking to make Scottish MMA history when he takes on Olivier Aubin-Mercier in November’s PFL Lightweight final.

The 32-year-old picked up back-to-back victories over Anthony Pettis to secure his place in the 2022 PFL finale. 

The Scot is now just one win away from a life-changing $1million cheque. Victory over his Canadian opponent would also seal Ray's place in the history books as Scotland's first MMA world champion. 

"I would be the first Scottish and the fourth British," Ray told Planet Sport.

"It's in the history books. I've won a world title before but it was at Cage Warriors. It's not quite the same. Whereas the PFL is a legit world title. Especially with who has been in the tournament and how big it is."

Over the last three years, Ray's career has been a wild rollercoaster ride, with the fighter experiencing the highest of highs and some of the biggest lows of his career.

Back in 2019, Braveheart was still in the UFC and had just picked up the biggest win of his career over Michael Johnson in Singapore.

Ray put pen to paper on a new four-fight deal, though a reoccurring knee injury forced him out of a bout with Marc Diakese.

The organisation subsequently released the Scotsman, which quickly led to his retirement from the sport.

Just as things appeared at their bleakest, the PFL offered Ray a fresh start. The Kirkcaldy-born fighter was able to take the opportunity with both hands and is now on the verge of world championship glory.

As well as coming back from retirement, Ray still had to deal with his chronic knee injury. The southpaw revealed that yoga has proved to be a potential career-saver.

He said: "There was a guy Jonathan Brookins, he's also been in the UFC. He won Ultimate Fighter 12. He was doing hot yoga in a 40-degree room, 90 minutes.

"That was my first-time trying yoga. That was about eight years ago now. So I've been on and off doing yoga ever since.

"It keeps my body in check. Sometimes I wish I could do it a bit more. After fights I go two or three times a week. But that's pretty much saved my career. It got my body back healthy."

If the PFL opportunity had never come his way, Ray revealed he would've set his focus on his own gym in Scotland.

He added: "I've got my own gym so I would've probably invested in that a little bit more.

"Do classes, private sessions, boot camps and fitness classes. I would just put more time into the gym I already have."

Ray will square off with Aubin-Mercier on November 25 at the Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden, New York.

READ MORE: Stevie Ray reflects on his journey from earning £500 in debut to the brink of $1m

Latest news