CM Punk's UFC debut went about the way one might have expected it would for a 37-year-old with no previous mixed martial arts experience.
Punk was never competitive in his brief encounter with Mickey Gall at UFC 203 on Saturday night. The former WWE superstar was taken down immediately, dominated on the mat and submitted with a rear-naked choke at the 2:14 mark of round one.
After nearly two years of training at Roufusport, Punk’s first Octagon foray offered little of note. Still, the Chicago native had no regrets about his decision to sign with the UFC and pursue a dream.
“You know in life you go big or you go home,” he said. “I just like to take challenges. It was a hell of a climb. I didn't get to the summit tonight but it doesn't mean I'm going to give up. It doesn't mean I'm going anywhere. It doesn't mean I'm going to stop. I appreciate all the support from everybody.”
Gall entered the matchup relatively inexperienced, with just a pair of professional bouts on his resume, but he was clearly more polished than his more celebrated opponent. While it would be easy for Punk to move on from MMA after such a lopsided loss, he doubled down on a pre-fight claim that he is in the sport for the long haul.
“Obviously Mickey's a hell of a fighter. I will be back, believe it or not,” Punk said. “This was the most fun I've had in my life, the second best night of my life after marrying my wife. I know there's a lot of doubters but listen, life's about falling down and getting back up. It doesn't matter how many time you get knocked down, get back up.
“So if there's any kid out there that's told by a parent, or coach or teacher or somebody they look up to or somebody that's supposed to push them and they're told no, believe in yourself.”
Gall wouldn’t be surprised to see Punk in the Octagon again eventually, because the UFC is a business, after all.
“I think he should take some time. I think there’s still money to be made on him. He’s still a big superstar,” Gall said. “So I think he will have another fight. Privilege doesn’t rub people in a good way. I think he’s earned that privilege by being a talented guy somewhere else.”