So when we started this CM Punk story, the first chapter was all about the 37-year-old former WWE superstar. Can he successfully jump to the UFC? Does he deserve a UFC fight? Who is he going to fight?
Now we know who his opponent is. And the CM Punk story is about to get really good.
Punk was the real story coming out of UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas. There’s also the sad demise of Johny Hendricks, who joins Cam Newton on the Mt. Rushmore list of choke-jobs, and the never-ending readiness of Joseph Benavidez.
Let’s look at where we are headed after Saturday night’s show, the winners, losers, and everything in between
5. Mickey Gall vs. CM Punk
We finally have a match and boy is CM Punk in trouble. I am not saying he can’t win, but somewhere along the way he must have really pissed off Dana White behind the scenes because Punk is being fed to a young lion. Even if CM Punk were a top fighter at the end of his career, going up against a young and hungry 24-year-old with two quick submission victories would be a challenge. CM Punk would be better off fighting someone like Tarec Saffiedine, where he could last a round or two getting leg-kicked than a guy who is probably going to knock him out and submit him like Gall has his first two opponents. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Punk to fight Michael Jackson, (not the singer, but I am certain Punk would have won that fight) the guy Gall beat? There would be a guy who is 0-0-1, looking for his first UFC win, against a guy who is 0-0, looking for his first UFC win. Instead we have CM Punk making his debut against a guy who has killed two opponents. How is that fair to Punk?
4. Mickey Gall Will Likely Emerge As The Star
I don’t know if the UFC knows that it is doing this, but the way the company is booking this Gall vs. Punk match is looking a lot like The Mickey Gall Show. The UFC hardcore fans, the ones with a hell of a lot less fighting experience than Punk, hate Punk. But instead of developing Punk, the UFC has made Gall the focus of the fight. “Here’s this young kid plucked out of obscurity to get a shot at former WWE Superstar CM Punk.” Who’s booking this crap? UFC is booking Gall to be the guy to kill Punk, which will make him an instant UFC superstar. That’s not the way the build CM Punk. As of right now, this fight is “Come watch Mickey Gall give CM Punk the ass-whooping he deserves for thinking he can fight for real.” In pro wrestling parlance, Punk is being booked as a heel against Gall, the face, but that doesn’t work here. If the UFC wants the most of its Punk investment it should have booked it all around Punk and his debut, against a nameless guy making his UFC pro debut. If Punk lost that guy is a star anyway. But now we don’t have a story about CM Punk making his pro debut as much as we have a story about Mickey Gall winning an opportunity to choke him out. Way to blow it, UFC.
3. Joseph Benavidez deserves a title shot
Yes, he’s lost twice to UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. Just like Miesha Tate, however, he is still among the best fighters in his division. In fact, Benavidez is the No. 2 fighter, and if Johnson were to move up in weight class, Benavidez would rule. He deserves a title shot, even if it’s his third one. Maybe the third time will be the charm for Benavidez, who is tough, talented and deserving of another opportunity.
2. Will the real Johny Hendricks please stand up
There’s something in the water or not in the water for Hendricks. He was once one of the most feared fighters in the world. Remember his war with Georges St-Pierre, in the fight that everyone believed Hendricks won? Whomever showed up to fight Stephen Thompson wouldn’t belong anywhere near GSP. What happened to Hendricks? How did he get old overnight? Yes, Jackson is a good fighter that posed a stylistic challenge for Hendricks, but let’s get real. CM Punk probably could have knocked out Hendricks that night (OK, CM Punk with a steel chair). He was flat and unprepared. Maybe he’s been in too many wars now, with GSP, Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit. Maybe it’s time for him to step down from his top star status.
1. Speaking of disappointments . . .
Cain Velasquez was supposed to fight Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight championship of the world Saturday night. Once again Velasquez injured himself and had to pull out of the fight. Velasquez could have been the greatest thing to hit the UFC since “The Ultimate Fighter.” Here was a heavyweight Hispanic star who could wrestle and box. He had everything going for him. Then he stopped fighting. Or just fighting once over two years. And only fighting guys named Junior dos Santos. Velasquez’s biggest moment was knocking out Brock Lesnar — a Lesnar struggling with diverticulitis. Velasquez could have been the sport’s biggest star, but has disappointed in big moments in his life. He never should have lost to Werdum. Now we will have to wait longer to see him return. At 33 years old, it’s going to be tough for him to dominate again in a division that could very well Jon Jones enter it later this.