Olivier Aubin-Mercier thinks Natan Schulte is ‘the guy to beat’ in 2023 PFL season

Reigning PFL lightweight champion Olivier Aubin-Mercier got past one stern test but thinks his biggest still lies ahead.

Aubin-Mercier (18-5) spoiled Shane Burgos’ promotional debut when he defeated him by unanimous decision in the season opener at 2023 PFL 3 in April. Aubin-Mercier views Burgos as one of the best fighters this season, but not better than 2018 and 2019 PFL lightweight champ Natan Schulte (24-5-1), who Aubin-Mercier edged out by split decision last April. Schulte also notched three points to kick off his 2023 PFL campaign when he defeated Stevie Ray.

“I wouldn’t say the biggest threat, but one of the biggest threats yeah,” Aubin-Mercier told MMA Junkie Radio on Burgos. “I still think Natan Schulte is the guy to beat this year, but there were two guys to beat I think, and it was Natan and it was Burgos. I think I have one more big guy to beat.”

Aubin-Mercier is unbeaten since joining PFL in 2021, making him the current lightweight to beat. But the Canadian fighter views each fight separately and admits he expected to have a tougher time against fellow UFC alum Burgos.

“I don’t see it as a title defense, but it went good anyway,” Aubin-Mercier said. “It was three rounds, so I wouldn’t count that as a title defense. It was good. It was easier than I thought, and I feel great.”

Aubin-Mercier’s next assignment comes against Anthony Romero at 2023 PFL 6 on June 23 at Overtime Elite Arena in Atlanta. On the same night, Schulte meets 2021 PFL champion Raush Manfio.

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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for 2023 PFL 6.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie