At long last, one of the UFC’s most prized and controversial acquisitions will finally step inside the Octagon.
Long Awaited Debut
Former WWE champion CM Punk, birth name Phil Brooks, announced on Thursday that he will be making his UFC debut at UFC 203:
— UFC (@ufc) June 23, 2016
Brooks’ announcement ends a long wait for fans who have been dying to see the former professional wrestler take his act to the real fighting world of the UFC Octagon. It can be recalled that Brooks signed with the UFC in December of 2014 and was given “all the time he needed” by UFC President Dana White to prepare himself for a UFC bout.
Brooks has since locked himself inside Roufusport Academy in Milwaukee, the training home of former UFC Lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and One-FC king Ben Askren. A shoulder injury pushed farther back Brooks’ UFC debut but with everything going well now, it’s time for CM Punk to get it on inside the real jungle of fighting.
Passing The Audition
Last February, the UFC held an audition of sorts for the role of CM Punk’s first octagon opponent. 24-year old Mickey Gall was picked from a UFC reality show and was tested against Mike Jackson at UFC Fight Night 82. Gall passed the test with flying colors, submitting Jackson in the very first round. With the victory, Gall not only improved his young MMA record to 2-0 but he also officially earned the role of CM Punk’s first UFC opponent.
CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall will happen at the UFC’s historic debut in Cleveland on September 10. The event, which will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena, will be headlined by hometown hero and the brand new UFC Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and 4th ranked challenger Alistair Overeem.
Not A World Beater
Brooks opened as a +275 underdog against Gall, who hit the books at -400.
As the early bets arrived, 66% were made on Brooks with the most popular ones at +333 for him and -333 for Gall. Although the 37-year old will have one of the most highly anticipated UFC debuts of all-time, he isn’t expected to become a world beater. Not at his age and his MMA skills.
Still, Gall won’t be taken him lightly. Gall has made it known that he’ll treat CM Punk as if he’s a champion, rather than a UFC rookie. That hasn’t hurt his confidence any, however, as he’s predicted he will take Brooks out in just one round.
However, as he was in the WWE, CM Punk is a cult figure who has legions of followers. It’s that business side of Brooks that made him a prized recruit for Dana White back in 2014.