Christian M’Pumbu lost the Bellator light heavyweight title earlier this year to Attila Vegh at Bellator 91 and when Bellator announced the fighters in the upcoming light heavyweight tournament, M’Pumbu was not included.
Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney told TheMMAReport.com that M’Pumbu is not in the next light heavyweight tournament because he wants the former champion to drop down to the middleweight division.
“I have been trying to convince Christian M’Pumbu to move down to 185,” Rebney said. “M’Pumbu is a talented fighter that walks around at 202 pounds eating hamburgers and drinking Cokes. There is a lot of Europeans that don’t like cutting weight and they are not use to it because they don’t come out of a wrestling background.”
Due to the fact that he only weighs around 202 pounds, Rebney believes that M’Pumbu could be a dangerous fighter in the Bellator middleweight division.
“My belief is that Christian M’Pumbu would be a dangerous 185 pounder and without any kind of weight cut. The guy comes in and throws his sweats off and he weighs in at 202 or 203. I have been trying to get him to commit to move down to 85 because I think as a 85 pounder, I believe Christian M’Pumbu could be a huge force to be reckoned with.”
M’Pumbu (18-5-1) became the first ever Bellator light heavyweight champion when he won the inaugural Bellator light heavyweight tournament during season four with a TKO victory over Rich Hale at Bellator 45 in 2011. However, he has lost back to back fights in Bellator which includes a non title defeat against Travis Wiuff at Bellator 55.
Rebney respects the skills that M’Pumbu has but would prefer to see him fight in Bellator as a middleweight.
“While I have a lot of respect for skill, I don’t know that I have the same perception of him particular given the depth of our 205 division right now with the likes of Emanuel Newton and Attila Vegh and King Mo Lawal and many others. We are having those conversations now are we are trying to get his head wrapped around the potential move to 85.”
If M’Pumbu did decide to drop down to the middleweight division, Rebney would likely place him into a tournament immediately.
“I would probably feel comfortable with throwing him right into a tournament. The reason being is most of the 85 pounders that fight for us at a high level in this company walk around at 215, 220. A guy who walks around at 200 pounds is literally 15 to 17 pounds away from making 85 as it is. Most of the guys that we have fighting for us that are making it deep into the tournaments are north of his walk around body weight right now. He has to have an understanding of how to get down to 85 and I think he could be very dangerous at 185 pounds and I don’t have the same confidence level in him at 205 but that is a decision that he is going to need to make.”