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Monday Morning Hangover: What's next for CM Punk after coming up short in UFC debut?

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 203 went down last Saturday night (Sept. 10, 2016) from inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

For complete coverage of the entire UFC 203: "Miocic vs. Overeem" fight card click here.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Alistair Overeem, who was knocked out cold by Stipe Miocic in the main event of the evening (see it again here). And Travis Browne, who suffered a second defeat to Fabricio Werdum, coming up short once again on the judges' scorecards (recap).

But which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover now 48 hours removed from the show?

CM Punk.

After over 18 months of waiting, the former WWE superstar-turned mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter finally got the chance to see what he's made of, as he made his MMA debut in "The Land." Standing in his way was a rather green, albeit more experienced fighter in Mickey Gall, who earned the right to face Punk with a simple callout.

No one knew exactly what to expect from Punk, who has never competed in a MMA fight prior to UFC 203; but that's okay with Ohio Athletic Commission (OAC). Sure, CM was confident going in, as were his teammates, but most had already made their minds up that Punk would be no match for the young fighter.

And they were right.

After storming out the gate, Punk quickly founds himself on the wrong-end of a takedown courtesy of Gall. What ensued was a violent assault that saw Mickey rain down punches on the ex-wrestler. With nowhere to go, Punk ultimately gave up his back and that's all Mickey needed to sink in an air-tight rear-naked choke (see it again here).

And just like that, the Punk experiment was over...for now.

Afterward, a dejected CM declared that his MMA days were far from over, though he wasn't quite sure the UFC brass was going to have him back right away after his poor performance. Nevertheless, Punk will live to fight another day.

Despite the crucial defeat, Punk won in more ways than one. After announcing his signing with UFC in 2014, Punk was met with plenty of resistance form most of the MMA world. Over time, though, he started winning them over, as he was seen mingling with various UFC stars at events.

Even his toughest critic, Nate Diaz, ultimately apologized to him for criticizing him without not actually knowing nothing about him, personally. Even UFC featherweight king Conor McGregor gave him props for actually "having the balls" to step inside the cage to engage in fisticuffs.

Still, from what we saw on Saturday night, it's going to be tough treading for Punk if he wants to climb the UFC ranks. Because if someone like Gall -- who is undoubtedly talented, yet inexperienced -- can give him fits, I shudder to think what the longtime veterans can do to him.

That puts the UFC brass in a tough pickle, as finding a suitable foe for Punk's next bout will prove to be a challenge in itself.

Anyone care to help them out with a few options?


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