After nearly two years, CM Punk finally made his debut in the UFC. In fact, it wasn’t only a debut in the UFC, but rather the MMA world altogether. There were thousands of skeptics from the beginning because fighting purists like their competitors to have amateur wrestling, jiu-jitsu, or fighting experience of some kind before stepping into the octagon. It was simply due to CM Punk’s name, which he made in the WWE, that got him in the UFC.
He took full advantage of the opportunity. That, along with a plethora of heart and passion for MMA, got him to UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. Punk was slated to face Mickey Gall, a newcomer to the UFC who sported a 2-0 record in mixed martial arts. Gall is a good jiu-jitsu practitioner who can strike with the best of them. He’s a rookie in Dana White’s world but has the potential to a title contender down the road. Gall certainly proved that at UFC 203 over CM Punk.
As soon as the referee called for the fight to begin, Gall immediately took down Punk and began throwing punches senselessly once he was on the ground. Punk had zero chance against the experienced Gall, who knew exactly what to do when he stepped foot in the octagon. It was a simple ground-and-pound technique, followed by a rear naked choke midway through the first round. Punk tapped within the first three minutes and lost in his UFC debut.
After the fight, Punk was visibly upset and frustrated with his performance. Months of hard work and perseverance turned into a wash at the actual competition. Punk even gave a great post-fight speech in the cage with Joe Rogan. Punk’s interview after the fight at the press conference saw the former WWE champion on the verge of tears. Despite his bad loss and the constant criticism from wrestling and MMA fans around the world, WWE stars took to Twitter and displayed great respect for CM Punk.
Want to congratulate Punk. I admire his dedication, passion & bravery 4 fulfilling his dream. Can’t wait 2 see what he does in the future! N
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) September 11, 2016
— Alberto Del Rio (@VivaDelRio) September 11, 2016
— WWE R-Truth (@RonKillings) September 11, 2016
— nodaysoff D-Young (@DarrenYoungWWE) September 11, 2016
It’s not easy to step outside your comfort zone & do something that is very challenging and very risky. In the end, we only have ONE life.????
— Nattie (@NatbyNature) September 11, 2016
Punk did exactly what he said he would do. He wanted to go in the UFC and try to complete a dream he’s had for a long time. Even in losing fashion, Punk achieved that dream, and it doesn’t look like he will stop after his loss to Gall. In that post-fight interview, he said he’s not stopping after one fight. Punk wants to eventually make it to the top. Unfortunately, Punk may have to start from the beginning.
Since Punk’s loss at UFC 203, White has said he doesn’t think the former WWE champion’s next fight should be in the UFC. Due to his performance, most tend to agree with that sentiment. Punk just didn’t show what it takes to be a UFC fighter right now. That’s not a knock on the former WWE star, but it’s a brutal reality. Punk needs a lot of seasoning and experience before going back to the UFC.
If he’s truly passionate about it, then Punk will return. It’s not like he’s going back to the WWE right now, as he’s still entrenched in a lawsuit against them. Ask future WWE Hall of Famer Batista about smaller fighting promotions, as he tested out a love for MMA once before. Perhaps that could be Punk’s next step to making it back to the show.
[Image via UFC]