ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

CM Punk underwhelmed in his UFC debut. While it wasn't the worst performance ever in the UFC, it was pretty bad and not very competitive.

That being said, if you are CM Punk, or a CM Punk fan, there are many positives to take from his long-awaited debut. When you strip away all the hype behind him, did he really do that bad? He lost the fight, in a lopsided defeat, but that outcome was expected. Not all was bad. When you put a 37-year-old vs. a 23-year-old with a vast experience advantage, what did you expect would happen? Even if Punk was an MMA fighter, at that age, he would still be the underdog against the rising lion. Punk has a lot to celebrate after his beatdown. While there are many critics, some good came out of his debut.

6. The Beatdown Will Make Him Better

He could train forever inside the gym, but it would never duplicate the experience he got fighting Mickey Gall. There's nothing like actually competing in the Octagon. The mystery is over. He knows what it is like to stare at another man inside the cage, especially when that man wants to tear his head off. Punk also knows what it's like to have a guy shoot on him and beat him down. The next time that happens, he'll be more aware, in a better spot, and possibly more likely to counter it. It's the kind of beating that young fighters get -- that they need to get. CM Punk just happened to get it on the biggest stage, at 37 years old. He's better now for it.

5. He Escaped One Submission Attempt

It was clear that the end was inevitable once Gall got on top of Punk, but Punk surprised many, even commentator Joe Rogan, by escaping from one rear naked choke attempt. That's a victory in itself. Punk DID NOT FOLD UNDER PRESSURE. He fought. He tried to defend. He made Gall work for his victory. Gall was in a great spot, the kind of spot you would expect when you have a 23-year-old against a 37-year-old. Punk did his best to defend and got out of at least one dangerous spot. Punk also proved that he has a hard head. He took some big shots from Gall, but did not get knocked out.

4. He Lasted Longer Than Other MMA Fighters

CM Punk lasted 2:14 in his MMA debut. That's not the worst thing that ever happened in the UFC. We don't have to mention any names, but he fought longer and harder than a lot of guys with MMA experience, including champions, champions who at one time, were considered the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. It was moderately impressive to watch him fight off Gall for two minutes. Punk proved in those two minutes that he has heart and desire. The skill may or may not come. He's legit though. It's possible that Gall is just that good.

3. Punk Made A Star Out of Gall

Like a true professional wrestler, Punk "put over" a young guy to make him a star. It's a time-honored tradition in professional wrestling. If you have a legend who is so respected by the fans that wins, and losses no longer matter, then the legend needs to lose to the young rising star, so that fans can take him seriously. Then, you have two stars, instead of one. While the UFC does not work that way, it is an unintended consequence. Punk is still CM Punk, the great professional wrestler, who failed in his MMA debut. That's what everyone expected anyway. That didn't' change, but now we have Gall as a rising star, calling out other young fighters. Without CM Punk, Gall would have never debuted on the main card of the UFC. Now, he's probably never leaving. In future video packages and promos, he will be "The man who spoiled CM Punk's UFC debut." Gall is a new guy who will make money for the UFC. Yes, we will hear more Tony Basil in the UFC.

2. CM Punk Banked $500K, Which Is Good For All Fighters

Punk made a ton of money, but realistically, in the long term, that's good for all fighters. One, he undoubtedly increased PPV sales for the show, which helps everyone on the card. Two, it shows that the UFC can afford to pay bigger salaries, which helps fighters leverage themselves for more cash in the long run. If Punk is making "too much money," maybe the other fighters on the card should be making more too. Punk is a huge pop culture name. Let's not have a myopic view of this from only an MMA perspective. If Punk can draw this kind of cash, that's what we love about the free market in America. Other fighters can do something similar if they develop their own brand and run with it. Works for Conor McGregor. Works for Brock Lesnar. Works for CM Punk.

1. CM Punk Cut An Inspirational Promo For The Ages

The professional wrestler in CM Punk emerged after his UFC 203 loss. Thankfully.

CM Punk showed us all why he is a major superstar. He can talk. He cut an inspirational promo, that had the fans in the arena cheering and even critic, Joe Rogan was saying that he was looking forward to seeing the remainder of his journey.

Punk, a social outcast who had been told since he was a child that he didn't belong, spoke truth to his fans and anyone listening after his loss. You just don't hear that kind of talk from UFC fighters, even the top names. CM Punk is good for the sport because he is a role model. Here is why:


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