Cedric Doumbe: The PFL fighter backed by Kylian Mbappe is MMA’s next global superstar

Doumbe chasing his sixth knockout this week (PFL)

With Kylian Mbappe among his growing army of fans, Cedric Doumbe can follow in the footsteps of Conor McGregor and Francis Ngannou in becoming the next global MMA superstar, says PFL chief Dan Hardy.

Doumbe, 31, headlines PFL Paris in the French capital on Thursday having stunned a home crowd with a  viral nine-second knockout on his debut over Jordan Zebo for the promotion in September last year.

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe, alongside teammates Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembele, were among those in attendance that night with the France captain left shell-shocked by Doumbe’s vicious finish early in the opening round.

He faces a formidable test this week up against another undefeated fighter in Baissangour ‘Baki’ Chamsoudinov in his sixth MMA fight.

PFL believe they have a true star on their hands with Hardy, director of fighter operations in Europe, confident another win on Thursday will solidify that status.

‘Mbappe flew in on the day of the event [last September] to make sure he could see it! We will see the same sort of thing this time around,’ Hardy told Metro.co.uk.

‘We sold out tickets for this event instantly. People know there is something special happening here. And this is the sort of matchup that launches him into super stardom to take on world champions.’

Doumbe, who was cut from the UFC roster before he could make his debut for the promotion, joined the PFL after a decorated kickboxing career, a two-time Glory welterweight champion and regarded as one of the best of all time in his division.

His MMA career has begun with five straight victories and while there are no doubts over his striking ability, Hardy believes ‘Baki’ will provide a pivotal test of his ground game this week.

The former fighter has little doubt over the Cameroonian’s prospects however and believes he is a ‘complete package’ ready to take over the sport.

‘He has everything he needs, the skills he has brought over from kickboxing are not in doubt,’ Hardy said. ‘We are going to see if he has got the ground skills in this fight, Baki is going to wrestle and try to keep him on the floor. But if he comes through this test, his stock in MMA easily doubles.

‘The reality is, he has everything else. The striking skills, the marketability, he knows how to talk, he knows how to play the game and get under someone’s skin and in their heads. In September, there are very few fighters who can command an audience the way he did.

‘I think if he comes through this test we have the next MMA megastar on our hands. Even if he struggles against Baki and shows he has still got a way to go, people are going to be invested in the journey.

‘There is something special about him. Within the next 12 to 18 months, Doumbe will be the biggest mixed martial artist stars around.’

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