While the whole thing felt a bit very set up (though obviously not to the point of being a work), CM Punk’s first UFC fight has finally been announced. Mickey Gall, who was a 1-0 rookie hired by the UFC off calling out Punk on the promotion’s “Dana White: Looking For a Fight” YouTube reality show, quickly won his debut over 0-0 Mike Jackson in 45 seconds. Gall was a heavy favorite.
The fight itself was very simple: Gall knocked Jackson (a former pro boxer who also works as a MMA writer and photographer) with his first combination, a 1-2, and followed up with a rear naked choke to get the submission. UFC matchmaker Joe Silva introduced Gall to Punk in the cage after the match and posed them for photos In a post-fight interview with Ariel Helwani, Punk said he doesn’t know when the fight will be, but he wants it to be at UFC 200 in June, which is slated to be the biggest card in UFC history. UFC President Dana White has stated in the past that he sees Punk’s debut as likely for the previous month’s UFC 199 card.
With the fight going 45 seconds, there’s not much more to learn about Gall. He looks like he has some pop in his hands which was somewhat surprising given that he’s a grappler first and foremost. His finishing instincts were excellent, realizing that it made more sense to go for the choke instead of throwing more punches on the ground. A lot of more experienced fighters don’t even do that, so that’s a plus in his favor. He looked about as good as could b expected and it sets him up well as a threat against Punk. As for Jackson, there’s not really anything else for him in the UFC unless Punk loses to Gall, wants to keep fighting, and needs an opponent.
Punk sounded much more nervous than usual when he was interviewed after the fight, but not necessarily in a bad way. He freely admitted that he was excited, as his long-awaited fight is finally a reality, though it’s still not slated for a specific card. It’s not a secret that a the MMA world is skeptical of how good he can get at his age without a combat or even high level athletic background, but he’s been training full time. That’s his big advantage, his financial security allowing him to not have to hold down a full time job between training sessions like a fellow greenhorn would have to.
Will it be enough? We’ll know this Summer.