In just over 24 hours, the world will tune in as former WWE champion CM Punk makes his highly anticipated MMA debut on the main card of UFC 203 as he fights undefeated Mickey Gall.
Ahead of the fight, as more footage has continued to emerge of Punk in training, some of the MMA community believes that the 37 year old Chicago native will be in for a rough time. Despite that, Punk’s head coach, Duke Roufus, has explained that a major key for Punk going into the fight is the fact that he is an enigma, and Mickey Gall doesn’t have any new footage of Punk to study.
Roufus went as far as to only do grappling with Punk at the UFC 203 open workouts, so that Gall didn’t have a chance to see how far Punk’s standup has evolved since the filming of ‘The Evolution of Punk’.
Former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen weighed-in on the situation during an interview with Sports Illustrated:
When I watched Punk train, I liked the way he attacked. I liked how busy he was with his jab, I like that he finished everything with a kick, I like the way he forces the clench and forces guys up against the fence. When he wasn’t attacking, and the guys were coming after him, I thought that it was a case of Punk’s best defense is a good offense. He started with jiu-jitsu, but I’m not certain he wants to go to the ground with Gall. I think Gall wants to be the one to take him there, so I’ll be looking to see if they’re standing up or they’re on the ground. If I were in Punk’s corner, I would feel a little more confident if he were standing. Punk really respects Anthony Pettis, and I know that he watches Pettis spar, and I’d like to see him standing up. That’s where he focused a lot of his attention, and Duke Roufus is such a good coach, and he is a puncher and a kicker. Punk has been one-on-one with Duke Roufus for the last two years—I would like to spend two hours with Roufus—and he knows what’s going on.
I think this is a pretty quick fight. The nerves are going to help lead to that. It’s Punk’s first time out there, and Gall is getting thrown right into a card with a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world, it’s a big deal. That would lend to both guys’ gas tanks emptying a little quicker, and I’ll give you one prediction: this is over in the first round.
Which one of these men leaves Cleveland, Ohio, with the win Saturday night?