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Exclusive: UFC ‘dropped the ball’ with Cedric Doumbe admits PFL Europe star on eve of Paris return

PFL Europe lightweight contender Connor Hughes believes the UFC ‘dropped the ball’ by not signing Cedric Doumbe.

The Frenchman took the MMA world by storm last September when knocking out Jordan Zebo inside nine seconds at the sold-out Zénith Paris.

Doumbe not only attracted a capacity crowd, but also left the likes of Kylian Mbappe speechless after his main event heroics.

Back in 2022, the former Glory kickboxing world champion was set to compete for the UFC. However, the Cameroon-born fighter was not cleared to compete, and the organisation soon lost interest.

Doumbe is now with the PFL and has helped sell out another Paris card as he takes on Baissangour Chamsoudinov at this Thursday’s PFL Europe event.

When asked about fighting on Doumbe’s undercard, Hughes told Planet Sport: “[He] sold out 20,000 people. That is surreal. That is living the dream. Cedric sells tickets, he’s a big name in Paris. He’s a great fighter.

“I used to dream of this stuff and now I’m a few days out from fighting in front of 20,000 screaming French fans. It’s just a dream come true to be honest. I’m excited.

“I was sat at home watching the last one. The last Parid card. I was devasted I wasn’t fighting on it just because of the crowd reaction. It’s crazy.

“I’m looking forward to it, I think it’s going to be wild. I can’t wait to put on a show for them.”

Doumbe’s last PFL appearance led to one of the greatest MMA atmospheres ever seen. The event even won plaudits and awards for the wild crowd reaction.

Hughes believes the PFL are 'soaking' up UFC’s missed opportunity when it comes to Doumbe.

“He’s massive,” added Hughes. “Who’s bringing that type of crowd. You know what I mean?

“The UFC did well in Paris anyway when they went there, but that’s just one man, bringing that many people. Obviously, there’s other fighters on there, I’m sure other people paid to watch them as well.

“But Cedric is clearly making waves and his PFL debut was perfect. They’ve [UFC] deffo dropped the ball with him and the PFL are just soaking it all up. I don’t blame them.”

Fans can watch Thursday’s PFL Paris event live on DAZN from 6pm GMT.

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