Cedric Doumbe doubts he opens door to UFC ever again: ‘I’m better here’
Cédric Doumbé is eager to make his second PFL appearance.
The former GLORY welterweight champion lived up to his hype in September when he debuted for the promotion with a spectacular nine-second knockout of Jordan Zebo that ignited a raucous scene among his French countrymen at PFL Europe 3. Doumbé is now set to face undefeated prospect Baissangour Chamsoudinov on March 7 in the main event of another PFL Europe card in Paris, and he has high expectations for his follow-up act.
“He has a pretty good fan base in France,” Doumbé said Wednesday on The MMA Hour.
“People, they’re talking a lot of s*** about [him winning] because he looks like a wrestler. He’s [originally] from Chechnya, he looks like a wrestler, and nobody [has been able to] take me down. And they think he is the guy, as they thought Jordan was the guy. So now they think he’s the guy, but I will show the same — first-round knockout — and they will find another guy who is supposed to be the guy, that guy. And it’s the same s***, different day.”
Doumbé, 31, is generally considered to be one of the top welterweight prospects in MMA.
His debut PFL appearance instantly became one of the most talked about debuts of 2023. Known for his flair for the dramatics, Doumbé marched out with a mattress for his opponent, led the crowd — and French soccer superstar Kylian Mbappe — in a thunderous chant, then put Zebo to sleep in mere seconds with a monstrous left hand.
It was an eye-opening performance in front of a sold-out crowd of more than 7,000 fans at the Zénith Paris, and Doumbé already upped the ante for his sophomore outing — the Frenchman said his next fight sold out nearly 20,000 seats for the Accor Arena in just 20 minutes. For the decorated kickboxer, it’s further validation that he made the right move by signing with PFL after originally expecting to join the UFC in 2022. Doumbé’s octagon debut fell through due to a medical issue and he was ultimately released from his contract.
Less than two years later, he has no regrets.
“That makes me smile because they f***** up,” Doumbé said of the UFC. “They f***** up. But I didn’t lose anything. They lost. So it is what it is, you know? Everything happens for a reason.
“I’m just doing my thing. I know I would do the same — maybe even better, maybe less — in UFC, but I’m just doing my thing. Some people say that, ‘You will never have done that [walkout] with the mattress in UFC, they will never let you do this,’ so I’m better here.”
With more than 80 kickboxing fights to his name, Doumbé knows he’s no spring chicken when it comes to his future in combat sports. While he’s still at the peak of his powers, he does not expect to fight into his late thirties. Because of that, he is focusing all of his energy into his partnership with PFL and doubts he ever opens the door to the UFC again.
“We never know for tomorrow, but I think 90 percent no,” Doumbé said. “Ninety percent no, because I’m not 20, I’m not 21. I’m not that younger fighter. So I think I’m more close to the end than the beginning, so I think I will not open the UFC door again. But we never know.”
Doumbé already has grand plans for his next step after March 7. Once he wins, he expects his next opponent to be former UFC champion Anthony Pettis. He’s confident he could one day sell out France’s Parc des Princes, the massive stadium that house soccer club Paris Saint-Germain.
First, however, he must get by Chamsoudinov. The 22-year-old native Chechen is a perfect 8-0 in his young MMA career and picked up a second-round knockout of UFC veteran Efrain Escudero in his most recent appearance.
“He’s better than Jordan,” Doumbé said. “He’s got very good judo. He’s from judo, he’s a judoka. But even his wrestling is not enough to impress me. I think even on the ground, the grappling, I’m better than him. But nobody knows [because] you haven’t seen it yet.
“A lot of his fans, they think he’s the guy. But even Jordan, everybody thought that would be the guy who’s going to expose me, but it’s always the same.”