Christian M’Pumbu: Now I realize that I should have started fighting at 185 pounds a long time ago

Bellator’s inaugural light heavyweight champion finds himself at a crossroad tonight.Christian M'Pumbu

Tonight at Bellator 127, Christian M’Pumbu, who knocked out Rich Hale back in 2011 to win the season four tournament finale, will take the cage against TUF 3 winner Kendall Grove.

Having lost three times in his last three outings, the bout against Grove is a must-win for M’Pumbu, and the French-Congolese fighter knows it.

“Because I have recently lost three fights in a row, I know I’m in a ‘do or die’ situation,” said M’Pumbu. “And I like that. This sets the stage for me to showcase the true potential that I have as a fighter.”

M’Pumbu (18-6-1) will be heading into this “do or die situation” with one significant change. For the first time in his Bellator career, the inaugural light heavyweight champion will compete at middleweight.

“Today, some of the light heavyweight guys are monster who weighed 220 pounds or more, and I still became champion of my division despite that,” said M’Pumbu. “Now I realize that I should have started fighting at 185 pounds a long time ago because my normal walking weight is only 200 pounds.”

Confidence has played a major role in why the 37-year-old hasn’t made the drop down to middleweight until now, but he is optimistic about his future in the weight class.

“The reason I never dropped in weight before is because I’ve always believed in my fighting abilities,” said M’Pumbu. “Now, for the first time, I will face someone of my size, and my skills should be even more effective.”

While M’Pumbu didn’t divulge any statistical analysis on Kendall Grove’s game, he is excited about fighting a fighter with a similar, lanky frame.

“All I know about my opponent Kendall Grove is that he’s tall and has a cool tattoo,” he said. “I believe my biggest advantage against Kendall Grove will be my speed – the quickness of my movement and the speed of my striking. I am also looking forward to competing against someone who is my same size.”

Potentially with his job on the line, Christian M’Pumbu will look to make a statement tonight.

“I have no messages to my opponent nor to the fans of Bellator. As for the statement I wish to make in this fight… that will be done in the cage at Bellator 127,” said M’Pumbu. “Just watch and see.”