New UFC signing Mickey Gall has been targeted as a potential first opponent for WWE wrestling superstar turned MMA fighter CM Punk’s debut later this year.
Gall was first introduced to the public when he made an appearance on the latest episode of the ‘Dana White: Looking For A Fight’ series which had previously discovered teenage star Sage Northcutt.
The 23 year-old Gall was shown calling out Punk after winning his professional MMA debut by first round rear-naked choke at the Dead Serious 17 event in Philadelphia with Dana White watching cage-side.
That caught the UFC president’s attention, and he’s since signed Gall to the promotion and if he wins his debut at UFC 196 then he’ll be the man who welcomes Punk to the Octagon later in the year.
“Mickey Gall – I’m bringing in Mickey Gall in and he’s going to fight a guy named Michael Jackson,” White told the Off The Record show yesterday. “They’re going to fight on the prelims on Feb. 6 on fight pass. If he wins that fight, Mickey Gall will fight CM Punk. CM Punk will be there to watch.”
Who’s Michael Jackson you might also be asking yourself. Well, he’s another fighter who’s been plucked out of obscurity to make his UFC debut, and he brings a hugely unimpressive 11-10 record to the Octagon, including having lost his last two fights.
All of this is highly irregular for the UFC who are not in the habit of signing fighters with only one pro fight, unknowns on losing streaks or indeed a man with no fighting experience whatsoever.
The reason why is that CM Punk is a very big name in the pro-wrestling world, but in terms of MMA experience he’s a complete novice which explains why the UFC have unearthed a completely unheralded fighter to be his first potential opponent.
In all fairness, Brock Lesnar was thrown into the mix very quickly when he crossed over, but the difference was that he had an extensive background in amateur wrestling, which CM Punk does not.
Punk has spent over a year so far training under respected coach Duke Roufus (most famous for overseeing Anthony Pettis career) for his first ever fight, but even so, clearly isn’t ready to be thrown in with an experienced UFC veteran at this stage.
There’s very few people who could get this kind of treatment from the UFC, but they clearly have hopes that Punk could be a crossover star as Lesnar was during his time in the promotion and so they are bending a few rules here and there to bring him into the fold prematurely.