It appears that we finally have a date set for ex-WWE superstar CM Punk’s UFC debut, as UFC president Dana White said that Punk will likely fight for the very first time at June’s UFC 199 event. As of right now, it’s unclear who Punk’s opponent will be, but it does seem likely that Mickey Gall, who will be making his UFC debut next month against Mike Jackson, will be the guy who fights the former WWE champ in June.
Dana White has made it clear that if Gall defeats Jackson, he’ll end up taking on CM Punk. However, if Jackson defeats Gall, then he’ll search for a new opponent for Punk, as the UFC president doesn’t want Punk’s debut to be against Jackson, for whatever reason.
— Dana White (@danawhite) January 13, 2016
When CM Punk signed with the UFC back in December of 2014, he told Joe Rogan, who interviewed Punk after he had signed, that he was planning to fight in the UFC more than once, saying that, “this is my new career.” At the time, not a whole lot of people believed that, thinking that Punk in the UFC would be a one-off publicity stunt.
As time went on, there was some question as to whether or not CM Punk would ever fight in the UFC. But now that it’s clear that he will, the former WWE champion is saying that he’s planning to fight a lot more than once, as he told Simon Head ofThe Sun that he plans to fight at least eight times in the UFC.
“I can’t honestly answer how many [fights] I’m gonna have – we’ll wait and see how the first one goes. But there’s gonna be eight, at least.”
CM Punk also said that he expects that his critics will be disappointed with his debut, because he won’t get knocked out in ten seconds, like many of his critics think he will.
“I expect people to be disappointed [after my debut]. I expect all those people that think I’m gonna get knocked out in 10 seconds to be disappointed. I expect people to bet against me and lose their money.”
Whether Punk wins his debut fight or not remains to be seen, but if Mickey Gall makes quick work of Mike Jackson next month, it’s likely that most people will begin to believe that Punk won’t have much of a shot in his UFC debut.
Punk saying that he plans to fight at least eight times is interesting, because that would mean that he’ll be fighting well into his 40’s, as he is currently 37 years-old.
Only a select few have been able to fight in the UFC in their 40’s, and they’re some of the all-time greats like Dan Henderson and Randy Couture. Guys in lower-level organizations have been able to fight north of 40, and even some guys, like Ken Shamrock, have been able to fight into their 50’s outside of the UFC.
By the time Punk steps into the octagon, it’ll have been 18 months after he signed his UFC contract, barring injury of course. After he gets his first fight out of the way, it’s likely that he’ll try to fight more frequently than every 18 months.
If CM Punk ends up fighting twice a year for the next couple of years, he’ll be 41 by the time he fights his eighth fight in the UFC. That is, of course, if he’s able to avoid serious injury, and if he’s able to win the majority of his fights in the octagon.
If Punk gets completely thrashed by Mickey Gall in June, it’s likely that the UFC will give him another shot just because he’s such a big star. But if he gets thrashed a second time, the CM Punk experiment will likely be over, at least in the UFC.
(Featured image via Esther Lin / MMA Fighting)