Former professional wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks tried his best to win inside of the Octagon but ultimately came up short.
After losing to unknown youngster Mickey Gall at UFC 203 two years ago, Punk followed his efforts up with a rather dismal performance opposite Mike Jackson earlier this month at UFC 225, losing via unanimous decision in a one-sided beatdown.
Like many of us, Gall was excited to see Punk perform one more time inside of the Octagon. The fact that Punk was fighting Jackson, a fighter who Gall also defeated, made it more interesting to watch for the youngster.
Unfortunately for Gall, and the rest of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community, Punk vs. Jackson didn’t produce the memorable action fight fans wanted it to. Instead, Punk was beaten about the face for 15 minutes while Jackson refused to go in for the kill and finish the former WWE superstar.
“I was psyched for that fight,” Gall said in a recent interview with MMA Fighting. “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.”
Can we really blame Punk and Jackson?
Both fighters had just one professional fight (individual losses to Gall) under their belt before stepping inside of the cage for UFC 225’s opening pay-per-view (PPV) bout. Their skills were never expected to mirror that of life-long fighters currently competing under the UFC banner, but maybe, just maybe, they could have produced a little more action.
“It’s not the caliber 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.”
While majority of people tuned in to see if Punk had evolved into a “real fighter” since his loss to Gall in 2016, it was Jackson who garnered a lot of the attention after the fight for his inability to finish. UFC president Dana White came down pretty harshly on Jackson and ended up calling him a “complete f—king idiot” during UFC 225’s post-fight press conference.
“Yeah I get it completely,” Gall said about Jackson receiving backlash for not finishing Punk. “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.”
Despite Punk and Jackson’s dismal performance to open UFC 225’s main card, the event still managed to pull in a reported 250,000 PPV buys. Not too shabby, especially considering Robert Whittaker’s main event rematch with Yoel Romero ended up being a non-title fight.