CM Punk may be throwing stones at Conor McGregor from a glass mansion. At least, that’s how members of the MMA world feel after Punk commented on the former UFC featherweight champion’s chances at UFC 202.
According to the Chicago Tribune, CM Punk spoke about the main event during an interview with Peter Rosenberg of WQHT-FM in New York.
Said Punk, “I’m going to go with the numbers on this one. As much as I love the fact that McGregor doesn’t back down from a challenge, with a full (training) camp at 170 (pounds), (Diaz) doesn’t have to cut a whole lot of weight. I think Diaz is going to win.”
To be fair to CM Punk, he hasn’t said anything that too many UFC observers haven’t themselves stated. After all, Diaz got the win over a flustered McGregor with 11 days notice and no camp to speak of. Physically and psychologically, the odds seem to be stacked in his favor.
Sometimes stating the obvious isn’t enough to avoid criticism, especially if you’re CM Punk these days.
Punk should have his fight debut at UFC 203, barring any last-minute problems. It will be his first ever MMA match, and he will be 37. It seems incomprehensible that someone would wait so long for a fight career, but CM Punk has another dark mark against him: He’s a “crossover” fighter hailing from the much-maligned world of “fake wrestling.”
Although CM Punk himself kicked dust on the WWE, this doesn’t seem to be enough to dispel the readily expressed sentiment that he’s a permanent outsider making a terrible mistake. After offering his own feelings on the upcoming UFC 202 main event, CM Punk was himself dismissed by former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem.
“I think [Punk’s] in for a hard time,” said Overeem.
During his MMA Hour interview, Alistair reminded Punk that MMA is very different from professional wrestling and that welterweights are “tough,” something the ex-WWE Superstar would be learning “firsthand.”
One could say that Conor Mcgregor and CM Punk are in similar ships, though not quite on board the same vessel. They’re both underdogs who have made statements that have drawn criticism. The odds seem to be stacked irreversibly against them, and yet if they fail to beat those odds, it could shatter their UFC careers.
Clearly, CM Punk doesn’t see it that way. He’s repeatedly spoken about being underestimated, and MMAFighting.com quoted the ex-pro wrestler as saying he’d never been so confident about his chances in his entire life. Did CM Punk throw a rock through glass walls and hide his inexperienced fist?
We know that Conor McGregor can win fights. He’s a former UFC champion who technically never lost his belt but was forced to give it up to pursue a revenge arc. Conor’s “mission” might end badly, and the loss could damage his carefully constructed hype. Yet, there could be a way back for the Irishman. He could win in a third match and gain his belt back. There’s always a fathomable return for one Conor McGregor.
CM Punk does not have such a luxury. A defeat would likely see him as a “one and done” fighter. He might be remembered as someone who never brought the hype and attention to the UFC that President Dana White had anticipated — if he’s so lucky.
If extremely unlucky, he might be pummeled so badly he’s virtually humiliated. Humiliation is the likely goal of 2-0 opponent Mickey Gall, acting as a self-appointed gatekeeper. We can only hope that Wrestlezone’s claims that CM Punk struggled with training for his debut were either wrong or greatly overblown.
While all eyes are on what will likely be an explosive UFC 202, it’s worth remembering that we are less than a month away from CM Punk’s fight. We’ll be learning in a matter of a few weeks whether Punk was right to leave the WWE at the top of his game or if it was a bad idea leading to the worst possible outcome.
Do you think CM Punk made a horrible mistake, or will he be vindicated? Share your thoughts on CM Punk and his comments below!
[Image via Fox Sports]