WWE who? CM Punk, the former wrestling Superstar-turned MMA fighter, stepped into the octagon to fight Mike Jackson at UFC 225 but was unfortunately brutalized in the process. Here’s all the details.
For the second time since trading his spandex for a pair of MMA gloves, CM Punk, 39, returned to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The man born Phil Brooks was looking for his first win, as the ex-WWE Heavyweight champion took on fellow 0-1 fighter Mike Jackson, 33, in a welterweight bought at UFC 225. In the middle of Chicago’s United Center, Punk – the hometown hero – went toe-to-toe with “The Truth.” However, from the get go Jackson had Punk fighting just to keep up. Although Punk landed a takedown in the first round, Jackson was dominant throughout, leaving his opponent bloody and exhausted when the match was called by unanimous decision (30-26 x3) for Jackson. However, that’s when fans erupted into boos in support of Punk.
Afterward fans of all stripes showed their respect for Punk’s UFC attempt. “Just a reminder that this is a dude who didn’t need the money, didn’t need the fame, but chose, at his age, to enter real combat sports and test himself at the top level. Mad respect to CM Punk,” one fan wrote. “MMA is not for him, but I wish I had half the heart and determination of CM Punk,” another wrote.
Mike – a journeyman boxer, kickboxer and MMA fighter — was favored 2-1 to beat Punk, according to Sporting News. He actually went on a “mission” to get this fight, sending Punk an autographed shirt before calling him out on Twitter. The UFC gave MJ the fight he wanted. “I feel like I’ve won the lottery. The lottery ticket is in my hands right now. Saturday night is my opportunity to cash it or it flies away in the wind.”
Punk’s transition from professional wrestling to mixed-martial arts was not the smoothest. Two years after he was fired from the WWE, Punk took on Mickey Gall, 26, at UFC 203 in 2016. After a mere two minutes and fourteen seconds, the fight was over. Mickey took control early and didn’t let go, ultimately slapping on a rear-naked choke that left Punk no choice but to tap out. Oddly enough, Mickey picked Punk to win tonight. “MJ does have more experience,” Mickey told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani, as Mickey fought Mike at UFC Fight Night 82 in Feb. 2016. “He has more hard wired skill. MJ should win. But I’m picking CM Punk. Punk lasted 2:14 with me, which is pretty impressive. MJ lasted only :45. Punk has almost triple the time of UFC experience.”
Before he took on Mike Jackson, CM Punk scored a legal knockout. In November 2014, months after he and the WWE acrimoniously parted ways, he went on an episode of The Art Of Wrestling, a podcast created by his longtime friend and fellow professional wrestler, Colt Cabana, 38. During the episode, he “expressed frustrations” with the company and WWE doctor Christopher Amann over what he said was a failure to diagnose a staph infection. Dr. Amann sued both Punk and Cabana for defamation, seeking near $4 million in compensatory damages. After a week-long trial, the jury ruled in Punk and Colt’s favor on June 5, according to the Chicago Tribune. Despite the loss at UFC 225, Punk definitely finished out the week as a winner.