Though UFC 203 was headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champion Stipe Miocic and challenger Alistair Overeem, the event was perhaps most anticipated for the MMA debut of WWE star CM Punk, who took on 24-year-old prospect Mickey Gall on the evening’s main card.
Given the fact that Punk possessed no real martial arts experience before signing with the UFC, very few people gave him a chance in his bout with Gall. The expectation was that the former pro wrestler would be dominated by his young foe, and when the cage door closed in Cleveland, that’s precisely what happened.
When the opening bell chimed, Punk put up his dukes and marched bravely across the canvas to exchange with Gall. Unfortunately, he was then promptly taken down by his young foe, and submitted with a rear-naked choke just minutes later.
In the moments after this entirely unsurprising outcome, Punk was interviewed by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
“IN LIFE, YOU GO BIG OR YOU GO HOME,” A BLACK-AND-BLUE PUNK TOLD ROGAN. “I JUST LIKE TO TAKE CHALLENGES. THIS WAS A HELL OF A MOUNTAIN TO TRY TO CLIMB AND I DIDN’T GET TO THE SUMMIT TODAY, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I’M GOING TO GIVE UP, THAT DOESN’T MEAN I’M GOING TO STOP. I APPRECIATE THE SUPPORT FROM EVERYONE. MICKEY’S A HELL OF A FIGHTER. I WILL BE BACK, BELIEVE IT OR NOT. [THIS WAS] THE SECOND-BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE BESIDES MARRYING MY WIFE.”
That last line, of course, raises some serious questions. If Punk, who is now an ugly 0-1 as a pro fighter, does intend to come back, who could he possibly be matched up with? Perhaps more importantly: does the pro wrestling veteran have any business in the UFC, which claims to promote the highest level of mixed martial arts competition?
Well, according to UFC president Dana White, who spoke to the Fight Network’s John Pollock post-event, Punk’s next MMA foray should probably occur outside the UFC’s Octagon.
If Punk does take another crack at mixed martial arts, do you think it should be in the UFC? Or should the former WWE star pay his dues on the regional circuit? Sound off, PENN nation!