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CM Punk Returns to the Octagon; Does He Stand a Chance?

CM Punk in his natural habitat. Does he stand a chance at the UFC?
CM Punk in his natural habitat. Does he stand a chance at the UFC? Photo by Ed Webster (Wikimedia) [CC License].
  • The UFC has booked another fight for CM Punk at UFC 225 on June 9th
  • The former pro wrestler takes on little-known fighter Mike Jackson
  • Does Punk stand a chance, or will this be another mauling at the hands of a trained killer?

At this point, why do we even need the WWE?

The UFC is now more pro-wrestling than actual pro-wrestling, with more ridiculous characters and even less believable storylines. In the last week alone, we’ve witnessed a series of events that even Vince McMahon would consider too absurd and unrealistic.

We saw the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson fight fall through for a fourth time, after Ferguson tripped at a media event and tore a knee ligament. Here’s a man who does dead-lifts on a medicine ball, bicep curls on a hoverboard, and conditions his elbows by smacking them against steel poles. Yet it’s only when he turns to greet a friend on the sidewalk that he blows out a joint. Absolutely ridiculous.

Then Max Holloway steps in to take Tony’s place and everything seems to be back on track, until Conor McGregor bursts back onto the scene and attacks everything in sight, hospitalizing Michael Chiesa and almost injuring women’s strawweight champ Rose Namajunas. As I said: ridiculous.

Dana White announced a comeback fight for 39-year-old former pro wrestler CM Punk. He’ll face actual MMA fighter Mike Jackson at UFC 225.

And just to complete the full UFC-to-WWE transition, Dana White announced a comeback fight for 39-year-old former pro wrestler CM Punk. He’ll face actual MMA fighter Mike Jackson at UFC 225 on June 9th.

Donald Trump turned reality into reality television; the UFC turned sports into sports entertainment. Don’t even bother acknowledging the sheer stupidity of it all, just strap in and enjoy the show.

Let’s preview some ridiculous props for these ridiculous times.

Picking the Winner

Fighter Odds to win
CM Punk  +200
Mike Jackson  -250

Don’t even bother looking at the odds, it doesn’t even matter. Whatever the line, pick Jackson. CM Punk (0-1) and Mike Jackson (0-1) appear to be very similar fighters on paper, but don’t be fooled. Both have only had one professional fight, with Mickey Gall choking out both in the first round. But here’s the key difference: Punk is a 39-year-old with a long career in professional wrestling and a brief stint in MMA, while Jackson is a trained fighter with amateur MMA and boxing experience. Neither can be considered a top-tier MMA fighter, but at least one is an actual MMA fighter.

The Gall vs Jackson scrap was for a cushy money-fight against Punk, and Gall thoroughly outclassed Jackson.

The Gall vs Jackson scrap was for a cushy money-fight against Punk, and Gall thoroughly outclassed Jackson, submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the opening round. Gall went on to submit Punk with a rear-naked choke in the opening round, so pairing Punk against Jackson is probably the most competitive match-up available to the UFC.

That’s not to say that it’ll be close, though. CM Punk was completely out of his element during his UFC debut. He was brought to the ground immediately after the opening bell and endured a mauling before giving up his neck. He looked uncomfortable during the brief seconds he was on his feet, and was completely lost on the mat.

Jackson isn’t a phenomenal fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but from the little footage we’ve seen, he’s at least able to handle himself inside the cage. He’s a competent striker and moves well, which is more than can be said about Punk.

I don’t think there’s much more to say. Mike Jackson will win comfortably.

Pick: Mike Jackson (-250)

CM Punk Props

Prop Odds
Odds Mcgregor crashes the fight and takes out the referee 20/1

Sounds crazy, but it wouldn’t be the first time Notorious stormed the cage and laid hands on a referee. The hardest part would be getting McGregor into the venue. After that, chaos would inevitably ensue. Of course, this prop falls by the wayside if McGregor is arrested and jailed for his rampage at the UFC 223 presser.

Prop Odds
Odds CM Punk fights in the UFC for a third time in 2018 20/1

At this point, why the hell not?!

The UFC has accepted the fact that they’re in the entertainment business, and if a fight can draw an audience, they’ll make it happen.

The UFC has accepted the fact that they’re in the entertainment business, and if a fight can draw an audience, they’ll make it happen. Even with two losses and no wins to his name, WWE fans will continue to pay to see Punk fight. Dana White is short on big-name draws at the moment, especially now with Conor out of the picture, so he’ll take whatever he can get.

Prop Odds
Odds CM Punk returns to the WWE in 2018 3/1

Ronda Rousey, who recently signed with the WWE, has said she is eager to work with CM Punk. The two-time WWE Champion left the world of professional wrestling in 2014 on less-than-ideal terms, but fans still remember him fondly.

There’s still a place for Punk at the WWE. The novelty of seeing him engage in real combat may quickly wear off, which could lead to lower and lower paydays for Punk at the UFC. Also, at 39 years, he’s already too old for the sport. 

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