Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) champion CM Punk made his highly anticipated octagon debut against Mickey Gall at last night’s UFC 203 event in Cleveland, Ohio.
The bout served as Punk’s first ever professional mixed martial arts fight and came against a very young and talented prospect, Gall, who had gone 2-0 thus far in his professional MMA career.
When the fight started Punk eagerly rushed across the cage in hopes of exchanging punches with his opponent. Gall quickly seized the opportunity and used Punk’s forward momentum to score an early takedown. Once on the ground Mickey was able to advance his positioning, while dropping some heavy ground and pound on the former professional wrestling star. Gall eventually took Punk’s back and began working on a rear-naked choke submission. Punk was able to fight off Gall’s first submission attempt but eventually succumbed to a second and much tighter rear-naked choke lock.
Following the fight many fans were quick to point fingers and laugh at CM Punk on social media for his first-round loss to Mickey Gall. However, more than a handful of fighters who actually know what it takes to make the walk to the octagon shared their praise for Punk’s effort and courage last night:
— BJ Penn (@bjpenndotcom) September 11, 2016
— michael (@bisping) September 11, 2016
Respect to punk a lot of people would of gave up before that point.
— Jerome-Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) September 11, 2016
CM Punk got a lot of heart for stepping in there #UFC203
— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) September 11, 2016
CM Punk should absolutely be respected. What a cool guy! Mickey Gall is a tough kid and he's smart. Excellent post fight speeches! #UFC203
— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) September 11, 2016
— Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) September 11, 2016
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor had this to say of CM Punk – “I’ll tell you what. Fair play to him. Because he got in there and fought and not a lot of people do. Not a lot of people have the balls to make that walk so fair play. He got his ass whooped. God bless. He got his ass whooped. Those WWE guys are straight pussies I told you so. But he isn’t. He got in and fought. So fair play to him. Respect!”
The truth is that CM Punk got to live his dream last night in Cleveland. Although he may have suffered a lopsided submission loss to Mickey Gall, he showed incredible courage and heart just by entering the UFC octagon.
After years of participating in scripted wrestling matches, CM Punk wanted to challenge himself by competing in a real mixed martial arts fight. Because of his name and popularity he was able to do this on the grandest stage of them all, the UFC.
Did Punk bite off more than he could chew taking a UFC fight against an undefeated opponent after having only trained two years in the sport? For sure he did. But you have to respect and commend the man for having the guts to even attempt such a feat.
Punk issued the following statement in his post-fight octagon interview:
“In life you go big or you go home. I just like to take challenges. It was a hell of a mountain to try and climb. I didn’t get to the summit today but it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to stop. I appreciate all the support from everybody. Obviously Mickey is a hell of a fighter. I will be back believe it or not. This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. Second best night of my life besides marrying my wife obviously. I know there is a lot of doubters, but listen life is about falling down and getting up.”