PFL’s Cedric Doumbe '100 Percent Sure' He’s Face of French MMA

PFL
February 14, 2024
While he’s already an accomplished combat sports athlete, Cedric Doumbe is still relatively young when it comes to his mixed martial arts career.

The former two-time Glory Kickboxing champion will take a 5-0 record into his showdown with Baissangour Chamsoudinov at PFL Europe on March 7. The card takes place at Accor Arena in Paris, and Doumbe calls his bout “the biggest MMA fight in French history.”

Though Doumbe is already a big star, fellow Frenchman Benoit St. Denis recently disputed the notion that the kickboxing ace is already the face of MMA in the country. According to St. Denis, UFC heavyweight Ciryl Gane currently deserves that honor.

“Of course I do not agree with that,” Doumbe said during a media call on Tuesday. “I’m 100% sure I am the face of MMA in France and everybody knows that. For some people, if you’re not in the UFC you can’t be the face of MMA. They think UFC is the top guys. That’s not wrong, but still you don’t have to be the UFC champion to be the face of MMA in your country. It doesn’t depend only on your performance. It depends on who you are, what you do, what you can make.

“Ciryl Gane, can he sell out Accor Arena in one hour or one day? I don’t think so, but Cedric Doumbe can. I think these type of things make me be the face of MMA in France.”

Doumbe attracted a lot of attention for his PFL debut last September, when he carried a mattress with his opponent’s name on it to the cage and then followed through on that promise by knocking out Jordan Zebo in just nine seconds. Doumbe plans on delivering a similar performance — complete with a special walkout — against Chamsoudinov. That means he isn’t necessarily interested in showcasing other aspects of his MMA game.

“I prefer a first-round knockout,” Doumbe said. “You know why? Because I still want people to get crazy, to dream about what is my level on the gorund. That’s what makes me surprise my opponent, because they don’t know my level on the ground. ‘Baki’ doesn’t know my level on the ground. He doesn’t know how he can train. If I can stay on my feet, I will do it and knock him out.”

Thus far, Doumbe is only showcasing his skills under the PFL Europe banner, but he’s more than willing to compete in the league’s global season format as well. The man with the moniker “The Best” is open to all possibilities as long as it gets him closer to championship gold.

“I’m open to any PFL [offer] on the table. I always say, I never decline a fight,” Doumbe said. “I can fight anyone. The [PFL welterweight] champion, [Magomed Magomedkerimov], Sadibou Sy. I want to fight Anthony Pettis. For me, it doesn’t matter. But I want to shock the world. If they put me in the tournament, I will do it, and I will win the tournament. If they give me super fights, I will do it until I get the belt.”

Doumbe initially signed with the UFC in 2022 with plans on making his debut at the promotion’s Paris event that September. However, Doumbe wasn’t cleared by the French Athletic Commission, and both sides eventually moved on. Now, the 31-year-old former Glory champion doesn’t believe a future move to the UFC aligns with his own timeline for success in the MMA.

“If you’re smart, a young fighter who is 20, 21, he can make some choices. But those choices will not be the same as [when your are] 31,” he said. “I’m not at the end of my career, I’m at the top of my career. [At] 31, your body feels good. I don’t want to waste my time. I want to capitalize. For me, going to UFC is losing two yeers. I don’t want to do it. I don’t have to prove anymore.”

Not only is the UFC not a goal, but Doumbe also admits that he isn’t especially excited about PFL’s recent acquistion of Bellator MMA.

“To be honest, I don’t even know the name of the Bellator champion,” he said. “The roster of Bellator, I have no clue of who I want to fight. I think they know me. They want to fight me, but I don’t know them.”

One place where Doumbe does want to be more well-known is in the United States. If he is already the face of French MMA as he says, Doumbe knows he needs to branch out to expand his fan base and build his name.

“The next step is going to be the U.S. market,” Doumbe said. “I have to do it because if I want to shock the world, I have to do it.”

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/PFLs-Cedric-Doumbe-100-Percent-Sure-Hes-Face-of-French-MMA-192609

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