Jaleel Willis on Opportunity to Fight Cedric Doumbe, Travel to Paris

Jaleel Willis Bellator 253
Jaleel Willis, Bellator 253 Credit: Bellator MMA

Jaleel Willis discussed the opportunity to travel to Paris to fight French star Cedric Doumbe ahead of the clash on May 17.

While the French fans were ecstatic to hear that their native star Cedric Doumbe would be competing at home once again in May, perhaps one of the most unexpectedly happy to hear the news was upcoming foe Jaleel Willis.

“The Realest” is a longtime pro with a 16-5 record that includes six fights under the Bellator banner and a handful of LFA bouts to his credit as well.  A prospect out of Tennessee, Willis made a name for himself before getting his break in late 2020 when he was signed to Bellator.  While he was immediately thrown into the deep end of the proverbial pool with fights against fellow vets Sabah Homasi, Mukhamed Berkhamov, Kyle Crutchmer, and upcoming title challenger Ramazan Kuramagomedov, the opportunity to go overseas to fight a star like Doumbe is another level entirely.

“I’m blessed up one hundred percent. I’m happy to have this opportunity. I’m trying to see what it’s like over there in Paris straight up. I am going to see the Louvre. I am going to see the Mona Lisa and everything over there. A young brother like me, we’ve never been out there. I would never have had to have gone to Paris for any reason so it’s good to go out to Paris to smash this man and I get to have a reason to go see the Louvre and take my family to go see some good **** too, know what I mean?”

To be sure, a victory over kickboxing veteran turned breakout MMA star Doumbe would be the kind of career elevating moment that would change the conversation for Willis in terms of his place in the global welterweight pecking order.  But outside of that, Willis acknowledges that this moment in elevating his career from fighting domestically to being granted the opportunity to be flown around the world is an accomplishment in itself.

“When you’re from Memphis, yeah one hundred percent.  I didn’t even think I’d get a chance to see what’s going on outside of Tennessee. My first time on an airplane was 2018.  Imagine how I’m feeling, they’re flying me to Paris to whoop some ***.  Too clutch.  I feel like I’m hitting the biggest lick of all-time.”

Jaleel Willis takes on Cedric Doumbe at Bellator Paris on May 17, 2024.