Cédric Doumbé Denies Benoit Saint Denis as France’s MMA Face

Kickboxer turned MMA fighter Cédric Doumbé claims he is the face of MMA in France, citing his ability to draw large crowds, and aims to build his audience in the US and “shock the world.”

Cédric Doumbé. Five MMA fights to his name. Yet, he’s confident no other French fighter can pull in a crowd like him.

Doumbé, 31, switched from kickboxing to PFL. His last fight in Paris’ Accor Arena? Sold out in 20 minutes. But UFC welterweight Benoit Saint Denis begs to differ. He says Doumbé isn’t the face of French MMA. Not yet.

Saint Denis points to Ciryl Gane, former UFC interim heavyweight champ, as the real face of French MMA. Doumbé talks big, he says, but he’s still got to “prove it” in the cage.

Doumbé’s response? “I don’t agree.” He’s sure he’s the face of French MMA. “Everybody knows that.” He admits it’s a tough sell for some. If you’re not in UFC, can you really be the face of MMA? Doumbé thinks so. It’s not just about performance, he says. It’s about who you are, what you do, what you can make.

What sets Doumbé apart? The people willing to pay to see him. He was a kickboxing star. Now, he’s bringing that crowd to PFL. His first two fights with the promotion? Sold out. He doesn’t think Saint Denis, Gane, or anyone else from France could do that.

“Benoit Saint Denis, can he sell out Accor Arena in 20 minutes? I don’t think so,” Doumbé said. “Ciryl Gane, can he sell out the Accor Arena in even one hour? One day? I don’t think so, but Cedric Doumbe can. I think this type of thing makes me the face of MMA in France.”

Doumbé knows he can’t just sell out arenas in France forever. He’s keen to build a U.S. audience. He’s convinced they’ll fall in love with him.

“If I want to shock the world, I have to travel and shock the world,” Doumbé said. “I didn’t say I want to shock the French. I already did it. I think yeah, France, I have to do it a second time, but then the next step obviously is going to be the U.S. market. I have to do it.”

Doumbé’s ready for whatever PFL throws at him. So far, he’s been matched with rising prospects, not the established welterweights. But he expects that to change.

At 31, Doumbé’s MMA career started later than some. He’s got time, but he’s not wasting a second.

“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 you get to 31,” Doumbé said. “I’m not at the end of my career. I’m on the top of my career. At 31, you’re body feels good, your mind, you are very mature at the top. I don’t want to waste my time. I want to capitalize. I want to make as much money as I can.”

Doumbé’s ready to fight anyone. The PFL champion Magomed Magomedkerimov, the other Magomed Umalatov, Sadibou Sy. He wants to fight Anthony Pettis, the former UFC champ. “For me, it doesn’t matter. I want to shock the world. So if they put me in the [PFL] tournament, I will win the tournament. If they give me only super fights until I get the belt, I will do it also.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -