It took almost two years for CM Punk to prepare for his UFC debut, a debut which ended in just over two minutes. Nobody really knew what to expect from Punk leading up to the fight, but most expected that he would lose to Mickey Gall, who is one of the most promising young prospects on the UFC roster.
Punk wasn't effective at all in his Octagon debut -- he didn't land a single strike, stop a single takedown, or successfully escape a single submission attempt. But while his performance inside the Octagon was disappointing, his performance as a pay-per-view draw was not, as he added an extra 150,000 buys to a show that wasn't expected to do all that well before he was put on the card, and because of his drawing power, the UFC may give him another shot.
As of this writing, the UFC hasn't officially decided to cut ties with CM Punk, but there's no guarantee that they won't. During a recent interview on the UFC Unfiltered Podcast, Dana White said that he's planning on talking to CM Punk at some point in the near future. So, the UFC probably won't decide what they're going to do with the ex-WWE star until after he's spoken with the UFC president.
If the UFC decides to hold onto CM Punk, there's only one opponent that makes sense for him - Mike Jackson.
Like Punk, Mike Jackson also has a professional record of 0-1, with his one loss being via submission to Mickey Gall in the very first round.
Shortly after Punk lost his debut fight, Jackson called him out on an edition of MMA Junkie Radio. Of course, he realizes that fighting Punk in the UFC would be a good way to get his name out there, and if he won, it could give his career a boost, and he could potentially increase his value to any organization that would be interested in his services after the fight. But so far, Punk hasn't responded to the challenge.
We do know that CM Punk wants to fight again and that he's back at Roufusport preparing for his next fight. But will his next fight be in the UFC? The answer to that question is, probably not.
It would be hard for the UFC to justify using CM Punk again, even if they did book him against a fighter at his level. Sure, it's a business, and the UFC does want to make as much money as possible. But there are times where you shouldn't give up your credibility just to make a little money, and this is one of those times.
Will CM Punk's next opponent be Mike Jackson? Probably.
Even though he was completely destroyed by Mickey Gall in his one and only fight in the UFC, Mike Jackson does have a bit of name simply because he compete in the world's No. 1 mixed martial arts organization. Plus, he and Punk are at the same experience level, and they're around the same age. So, a fight between the two makes perfect sense.
Which organization will host the fight? Bellator. When will it happen? Probably on January 21 in Inglewood, California, which will be headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Tito Ortiz.
It's almost a guarantee that CM Punk will go to Bellator if the UFC cuts him. They can offer him the most money, and aside from the UFC, they can give him the most exposure.
If the UFC decides to cut Punk, we'll probably hear about it within the next month or so, and it probably won't take long for Bellator to offer the former WWE Champion a contract after he's let go. So, expect to see CM Punk in the Bellator cage at some point in 2017.
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