Mickey Gall is all too familiar with both CM Punk and Mike Jackson.
The New Jersey native defeated both Jackson and Punk in the first two fights of his UFC career. Gall was a product of UFC President Dana White’s Lookin’ For A Fight program. He wanted a shot at CM Punk and earned it by defeating Jackson in his UFC debut in under a minute.
Gall then defeated Punk several months later via first round submission. Two years later Punk and Jackson found themselves fighting each other on the opening card of the UFC 225 pay-per-view (PPV) earlier this month. It was a truly awful thing to watch for mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, but in the end Jackson ended up with the unanimous decision win.
In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, Gall offered his thoughts on the match-up. He believes the bout went 15 minutes too long:
“Nah man, I was psyched for that fight,” Gall admitted. “I thought they were going to lay it all on the line, really go for it and try and take each other out. I was disappointed in Michael Jackson. I didn’t think he had the urgency that he should’ve. I think he was a little lackadaisical. I think that fight went like 15 minutes too long. I was really disappointed in it to be honest.”
Fans were understandably frustrated with Punk, a former professional wrestler, making it onto the main card of a PPV in only his second fight with the promotion. Gall, however, understands that it was a good business move for the promotion to use Punk the way they did:
“It’s not the calibre we’re used to watching, of fighter, it’s not the high level you should be seeing on the main card in the UFC,” Gall said. “I get it, a lot of eyes and attention are brought by CM Punk. I benefited the most, probably, from the CM Punk thing. But I think it’s time – let the fighters fight. The real fighters.”
UFC President Dana White has said that after seeing Jackson’s performance against Punk, he won’t be getting another shot in the Octagon. Gall believes the UFC boss’ decision is justified, because Jackson didn’t show enough urgency against the former WWE Champion:
“Yeah I get it completely,” Gall said. “He didn’t show urgency in there, he should’ve taken that guy out. If he was looking to prove he belongs in the UFC he didn’t do that. It was a one sided fight but it was competitive enough. He let him go the distance.
“When I fought CM Punk, I knew if he did one positive thing against me, I failed. I’d let down the whole MMA community. I had to go in there and give him zero – a goose egg. Go in there and lay him a goose egg. Give him nothing. So I felt that pressure and I don’t think Jackson felt that, and I think he needed to.”
As for how he feels about CM Punk, Gall admires his girt and heart for stepping into the Octagon in the first place. But Gall believes that this is simply just too high a level in the game of MMA to get by on those two things:
“I give him admiration for his grit and his heart,” Gall said. “You can see he was tired after the first round but he hung in there for two more and he tried. But he doesn’t have the skill. You can have all the heart and guts in the world, but if you don’t have the skill to back it up it doesn’t mean anything.
“Especially at this high a level. We’re not playing games. It’s not like, you can have a dream and whatever. You have to have it and you have to have the skills. He didn’t have them, but hats off to him for trying and getting in there.”