CM Punk thinks his debut will leave haters more than a little pressed.
“I get better every day,” CM Punk told the Sun, “And that’s what really kinda excites me about this whole thing…I know how much I’ve grown.”
While Punk may know how much he’s grown, there’s still plenty of room for doubt. More than a few UFC fans are doubting the former WWE wrestler will make it out of his first fight in one piece.
We’ve only recently learned that CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, will likely make his Octagon debut at UFC 199. There’s a stipulation, of course: Mickey Gall, the fighter he’s expected to face, will only face the untested wrestler if he wins his own fight at the upcoming UFC 196. Dana White has already gone on record via Twitter, stating that a loss by Gall will result in a search for a new opponent. No pressure, Mickey.
In all seriousness, it’s a bizarre stipulation that has some MMA fans wondering just how low the bar has been set to keep CM Punk from being embarrassed.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) January 22, 2016
It appears CM Punk welcomes all doubters.
Said Punk, “A lot of people like to throw that pro wrestling card out there, like ‘he’s a fake wrestler’, and that’s great. That’s great for me. I want them to think that.”
“I expect people to be disappointed. 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. I expect people to get divorced because they’re upset that their wife wanted me to win, and they wanted me to lose, you know?”
Despite an injury-related setback in 2015, CM Punk is very confident that should he make his debut in June, he will be in the position to truly shock everyone — especially his opponent. Despite Punk’s overall enthusiasm, there are a couple of things working against him that cannot go unacknowledged.
— FIGHTLAND (@FIGHTLAND) January 15, 2016
New Jersey MMA fighter Mickey Gall is relatively new to UFC; Sherdog stats have him as 1-0. While Gall is an ideal opponent for CM Punk on the surface, it’s important to note that he’s considerably younger than the 37-year-old ex-WWE wrestler. Age is always a factor in combat sports, and the UFC is no exception.
It would certainly be unrealistic to put Punk up against a fighter his own age; behind that fighter would be years and years of MMA experience. It would be a highly skewed fight that would probably be too painful to watch.
At the same time, the “vigor” of youth and hunger that Gall, who called out Punk in order to get this opportunity, possesses could prove to be highly negative factors in their own right.
Mickey Gall on his possible fight with CM Punk: I’m going to hurt him"… pic.twitter.com/O4h6N4KGsZ
— PWM (@ProWrestlingMag) January 22, 2016
Something else to consider? The timing of his debut. It’s no accident that CM Punk would be far more likely to feature at UFC 199 than UFC 200. Although Punk admits he’s disappointed to be left off of the card for the larger and highly anticipated event, this could be a face-saving move on the part of Dana White.
Should CM Punk find that his fists fail to back up his words, a disastrous debut would be politely swept under the rug as the hype is instead amped up for the pivotal UFC 200. If CM Punk debuted at UFC 200 and flopped dreadfully, no doubt the loss would overshadow every aspect the night. Barring a last-minute display of unfathomable confidence by Dana White, the UFC president will likely stick with UFC 199 to avoid any additional headaches.
Agreeing to take on CM Punk and have him fight in the UFC has been a highly controversial decision by Dana, one that’s forced him to do something of a balancing act. White seems to be taking great care in both making sure Punk has a fair debut fight while working to protect the UFC’s reputation if the “fight experiment” goes belly up.
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) January 15, 2016
CM Punk feels good about his odds, but we’re still a long way from a potential June debut. Do you think CM Punk is overly confident about his chances, or are UFC fans underestimating him? Share your thoughts below!
[Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images]