CM Punk’s UFC journey was never going to have a happy ending. Punk signed with UFC in December 2014. Punk joined Roufussport MMA Academy and began training. Punk trained for years at a top level camp. Punk finally fought on Septemeber 10th, 2016 against Mickey Gall. Gall had a few professional fights under his belt and absolutely dominated Punk. Punk didn’t even land a punch. Gall was an unseasoned pro that had years of martial arts training that Punk could never catch up to. Punk fought and lost to Mike Jackson on Saturday. Jackson was also 0-1 as an MMA fighter and had also lost to Mickey Gall. Jackson has minimal experience and dominated punk and won a unanimous 30-26 decision. It was obvious that Punk is light years behind where he needs to be.
It was clear to me the whole time that this was going to be a disaster, but I think after that first fight that most casual fans realized CM Punk was going to turn into the next Brock Lesnar. The thing about Lesnar was that he was a national champion wrestler at The University of Minnesota and a brick shithouse of a man that moved like a cat to go along with his wrestling experience. Punk spent his prime years wrestling for various wrestling promotions. Punk had a nasty split with WWE in 2014 where he was fired on his wedding day after walking out on the company. The drama didn’t end there as Punk and Colt Cabana a fellow wrestler just won a defamation lawsuit against WWE doctor Chris Amann for comments Punk made on Cabana’s podcast in 2014. I’ve always wondered if Punk has really ever wanted to fight. Wrestling was Punk’s greatest love and it’s essentially been taken from him or he wants nothing to do with it. It seems like both options are plausible. When Punk was wrestling he was the best Wrestler WWE had. Punk wasn’t the most athletic or the best in-ring technician, but he was the best promo without a doubt and could tell a story in the ring like nobody else. Punk was the classic case of “you don’t know what you got till its gone”. I’d like to see him come back to wrestling some day, but I’m not sure that will ever happen. I just wonder if MMA was the next thing Punk thought that he could become great at. Punk didn’t fail because of lack of trying or commitment, he was done before he ever got started.
Punk’s biggest opponent was never Mickey Gall or Mike Jackson, it was time. Punk was never going to have enough time to succeed, he has trained for years at this point and still looks like someone that just started in MMA because he is.
I don’t know what the future holds for Punk, but it probably doesn’t involve fighting on UFC PPVs anymore and I’m pretty happy about that. Punk could hit the regional MMA, but they won’t pay him anywhere near what UFC has. If Punk wants to continue I’m sure Scott Coker of Bellator MMA will be calling soon. Bellator could pick better-matched opponents for Punk and pay him handsomely. Maybe Punk returns to wrestling on the independent scene or with New Japan Pro Wrestling. I guess Punk could keep getting his ass kicked for money. At some point, the risk of brain damage will probably outweigh the reward.
I admire the way Punk has gone about things, but this story never had a happy ending, at least not in the UFC anyway. I hope that he finds success wherever he ends up next.
Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski, USA TODAY SPORTS