UFC 225 was one of the deepest cards from top to bottom offered by the Las Vegas-based promotion in quite some time.
From the UFC Fight Pass prelims to the pay-per-view main card, there were plenty of bouts with championship and rankings implications. One matchup stood out like a sore thumb, however, and that was the welterweight showdown between former WWE superstar CM Punk and Mike Jackson, both of whom possessed underwhelming 0-1 career marks.
In theory, Punk vs. Jackson was on the pay-per-view draw because UFC 203 – which featured Punk’s Octagon debut – drew a reported 450,000 buys, which is on the high end for a card not featuring the likes of Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey or Brock Lesnar. In fact, White recently scoffed when asked why the heavyweight bout between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes wasn’t on the main card instead of Punk vs. Jackson.
“When Alistair Overeem sells as many pay-per-views as CM Punk, we can argue,” White said at the UFC Fight Night Liverpool press conference.
Now, White admits that he should done things differently. While Punk lasted longer than he did in his debut against Mickey Gall, he was still overmatched against Jackson, who has boxing and kickboxing experience. The end result was a decisive – but less than enthralling – three-round verdict for Jackson.
Now that Punk has scratched the itch and gotten to do so twice on the largest stage possible, White thinks it’s time to hang up the four-ounce gloves for the Roufusport-trained competitor.
“I think that’s probably a wrap for CM Punk,” White said on Fox Sports 1. “I think he should do that for himself. He’s 39 years old. The guy’s got a lot of guts. He came out here and tried it twice, worked very hard and earned the respect of his team and a lot of other people. He looked tough tonight.”
Meanwhile, Jackson didn’t fight with the sense of urgency that White would have liked. While the man known as “The Truth” angled for another UFC bout or Zuffa Boxing opportunity in his post-fight interview, it doesn’t sound as though that will come to fruition.
“Michael Jackson I was not impressed with,” White said. “That guy was out there goofing around, throwing like bolo punches from the top. If you could have finished that fight, you should have finished that fight. I probably should have put that on the Fight Pass prelims in hindsight.”