It’s been a year and a half since former WWE World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk signed on the dotted line with the UFC, and he still hasn’t stepped inside the Octagon. Well, according to well-respected MMA reporter Jeremy Botter, that’s about to change.
On Sunday night, Botter tweeted that the UFC was planning on adding CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall to the UFC 202 card on August 20, which will be headlined by the rematch between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor. As of this writing, the UFC hasn’t confirmed this, but, Botter is far from the only person who has reported the news.
Oh. And CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall is targeted for August 20. Same night as Diaz/McGregor. Hope I didn’t ruin any announcements.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) June 6, 2016
Following UFC 199 on Saturday night, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and MMA Fighting revealed that Fox Sports 1 is planning on airing a CM Punk reality show, which will focus on Punk’s preparation for his UFC debut in August. It also meant that the ex-WWE Champ would likely be making his debut at either UFC 202 on August 20, or at UFC 203 on September 10.
“CM Punk is probably fighting by the way. What I can say about CM Punk is that FS1 is scheduling the CM Punk reality show to build to his fight in August, so that would probably mean [that he’s fighting on] August 20, or September 10 in Cleveland, and I believe that August 20 is in Vegas, and I tend to think that, of the two, they’d do it on August 20.”
Punk was originally supposed to make his UFC debut against Mickey Gall at this past Saturday’s UFC 199, but a serious back injury that required surgery postponed the ex-WWE star’s first UFC fight.
On May 23, Mickey Gall tweeted that, from what he understood, he and CM Punk were going to step inside the Octagon in the late summer, which again pointed to UFC 202 as the date for the bout.
4 every1 askin I hear Punk and I r fighting late summer. I don't have an official date. If I did I would tell ya. But we r for sure fighting
— Mickey Gall (@mickeygall) May 23, 2016
Punk originally wanted to fight on July’s UFC 200 card, but, as previously mentioned, a back injury kept him off of that card. The UFC does have another ex-WWE Champ on the card, as Brock Lesnar will be returning to the Octagon to fight Mark Hunt.
— SEScoops (@sescoops) June 5, 2016
There has been a rumor going around that CM Punk has been struggling during his sparring sessions at Roufusport MMA, which has led many to believe that he’s going to get absolutely destroyed by Mickey Gall when the two fight.
Most people believe that CM Punk won’t actually end up fighting because he’ll either never feel ready, or because he’ll end up getting hurt in the training camp leading up to a scheduled fight. But, since his back surgery, we haven’t heard of any other injuries. So, it looks like Punk is relatively healthy, and he should be able to make it through a full training camp.
Earlier this year, CM Punk said that he wants to fight in the UFC more than once, and that he has a plan to fight at least eight times, which would mean that he would be fighting into his 40s. So, whether he wins or loses, it’ll be interesting to see if he still has that mentality after his debut fight.
CM Punk’s UFC debut, combined with the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, should do big business for the UFC. The company has expected that Punk will be a huge draw for them whenever he does fight, which is why they’ve been so patient with him. But, if he loses, especially if loses in the first round, the UFC may decided to end their relationship with Punk, even if his debut fight does end up getting a ton of attention.
[Image via Fox Sports]