Cedric Doumbe wants Anthony Pettis in Paris, believes he should headline over title fights 

Cédric Doumbé had a thrilling knockout in front of a raucous home crowd at Bellator Paris, but there was only one problem. He wasn’t in the main event.

That spot belonged to Bellator bantamweight champion Patchy Mix, who defended his title against Magomed Magomedov. But after seeing and hearing the kind of reception he received from his hometown fans, Doumbé believes PFL and Bellator officials made a mistake putting him lower on the card.

“I didn’t really enjoy being the co-main event,” Doumbé said recently on The MMA Hour. “Even after my fight, some people left the arena. It’s better [if I’m the main event]. I think they will not do the same mistake [again]. Even if there is a belt on the card, they will put Cédric Doumbé at the end of the night.”

Doumbé said the whole experience threw him off because he didn’t even get the chance to embrace the crowd as he was being rushed through his post-fight interview to make way for the main event.

“I even missed [the chance] to say my famous sentence,” Doumbé said. “Always, all the time when I win the fight, I say in French, ‘What did I tell you? KO, first round, nobody can test me.’ Now, I forgot to say because the speaker was really quick, it wasn’t the same.

“When you’re the main event, you take your time. You can play with the crowd, with the audience, with everybody.”

After scoring a vicious knockout of Jaleel Willis, Doumbé faced off with his next opponent in the cage. Former UFC champion Anthony Pettis flew to France specifically for that opportunity, and has tentative plans to fight Doumbé later this year.

While early talks have placed the fight on a PFL pay-per-view card in Saudi Arabia, Doumbé said the promotion would be making another fatal error by not returning to Paris.

“I wasn’t surprised that Pettis came into the cage and said that he wanted to fight me in Paris,” Doumbé said. “For sure, in Saudi Arabia, it’s not going to be the same crowd.

“At the moment he mentioned that, that he wanted to fight me in Paris and the French crowd agreed with him, it changes everything. I think we will make it in France if the PFL agrees with that, Bellator agrees with that. We’ll make it in France. It don’t make any sense in Saudi Arabia.”

Doumbé often says he’s the face of French MMA and the only person capable of selling out arenas in the country in record time. Doumbé feels as fif a fight as big as his against Pettis could draw an even bigger crowd than the 20,000 seats inside Accor Arena.

“It could be in a stadium, really,” Doumbé said. “It could be in a stadium. We can sell it out.”

As a former UFC lightweight champion, Pettis has the name and the credentials to sell a fight alongside Doumbé.

Assuming that fight gets finalized, Doumbé takes a decided step up in competition with only seven professional bouts on his MMA résumé. Pettis is a vastly more accomplished fighter, who even scored a win over boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. in his most recent outing.

That being said, Doumbé knows the Pettis he’ll likely fight isn’t the same young savage who won titles in both UFC and WWE. Since 2019, Pettis holds a 4-6 record in MMA and is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, with back-to-back losses to Stevie Ray in PFL.

“I think he’s not of course in his prime,” Doumbé said. “He’s not the Pettis we knew in the UFC. But he’s still Anthony Pettis. He’s not done yet, still very strong. He has all the weapons to beat me, so it’s still a dangerous opponent.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not the same as before. It’s still Anthony Pettis, the great Anthony Pettis that we knew before and still a very dangerous opponent for me.”

Doumbé takes nothing lightly, especially after a splinter in his foot ended his previous fight in disappointing fashion. Whether Pettis is the same guy who won UFC gold back in 2013 is inconsequential to Doumbé, because he’s still facing a legend of the sport.

“For me, that’s a small dream coming true,” Doumbé said of fighting Pettis. “A former UFC champion in front of Cédric Doumbé, who is coming from kickboxing, from full-contact even, and for me, it’s like a dream. To beat Anthony Pettis on my record, it’s going to be really amazing. I can’t wait.”

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