After over a year of preparation, former professional wrestler CM Punk’s professional mixed-martial-arts debut will take place at UFC 199 in June, according to UFC president Dana White. His opponent will be Mickey Gall, unless Gall loses to Mike Jackson on Saturday night.
Dana White discovered Mickey Gall at a local MMA show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Gall won his fight in the very first round via submission, and subsequently called out CM Punk, which caught the UFC president by surprise. Gall was signed by the UFC shortly thereafter.
CM Punk will be in Las Vegas to watch Mickey Gall’s UFC debut, which he’ll presumably win, and then face off with Punk inside the cage during his post-fight interview.
In an interview which aired on UFC Fight Pass, CM Punk complimented Mickey Gall, saying that he’s a smart man for calling him out after his win. Punk also added that Gall has been nothing but respectful.
The ex-WWE star also said that he’ll be excited if Gall picks up the win on Saturday night, because that’ll mean that he’ll finally have an opponent that he can prepare to face.
“To me, Mickey Gall is a means to an end — he’s humble, he’s respectful, and he’s smart; he called me out when he knew he had Dana (White’s) ear. He knew what he had to do, he said my name, so he did the right thing. Honestly, I’m looking forward to meeting him, he seems like a nice kid.
“If he wins, I’ll be excited, because I’ll have a date and I’ll have an opponent, and it’s on.”
There hasn’t even been a hint of a backup opponent for CM Punk if Gall loses on Saturday night — Dana White was asked on Twitter if Mike Jackson would end up fighting Punk if he won, and the UFC president said no. However, Punk vs. Jackson would only make sense if the latter was able to win on Saturday night, as it would be his first professional MMA fight and victory, which means he, much like Mickey Gall, is on the same experience-level as CM Punk.
When CM Punk signed with the UFC in December of 2014, there certainly was no shortage of MMA pros and celebrities who were willing to fight him — guys like UFC middleweight contender Michael Bisping, former MLB star Jose Canseco, and Jason David Frank, who was the Green Ranger in Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers all called out the former WWE superstar.
Whether he wins or loses his UFC debut, don’t expect CM Punk’s move to the world of MMA will be a one-and-done deal. He’s stated multiple times that he plans to be a professional fighter for the foreseeable future, saying that he wants to fight in the UFC at least 10 times
Punk is currently 37-years-old, and he suffered numerous injuries during his professional wrestling days, including a fractured skull, and several concussions. So there’s a chance that all of the injuries that he suffered during his pro wrestling days could hurt his chances at a long MMA career.
There’s also been some who have questioned if Punk can make it through a full training camp without getting seriously injured. So far, other than a shoulder injury that sidelined him for a couple of weeks, Punk has managed to stay healthy. So that’s a pretty good indication that he’ll be able to make it through a full training camp without suffering a significant injury.
[Featured image via Complex]