The UFC is one step closer to finding CM Punk’s opponent. UFC newcomer Mickey Gall will face Michael Jackson at UFC 196 on Feb. 6, and with a win, Gall will face the former WWE superstar later this year.
UFC president Dana White broke the news while speaking to TSN in Canada, revealing that Gall, who he discovered on his reality series "Looking for a Fight," is now one step away from becoming Punk’s first opponent in the Octagon.
"I’m bringing Mickey Gall in and he’s gonna fight a kid named Michael Jackson, they’re going to fight on the prelims on Feb. 6 on Fight Pass and if he wins that fight, Mickey Gall will fight CM Punk and CM Punk will be there at the fight to watch," White revealed.
Gall won his first professional fight in November with White sitting cageside before the 23-year-old welterweight called out Punk and asked to face him in the UFC.
Gall not only told FOX Sports just last week that he would love the chance to fight Punk, but also predicted a dominant finish over the 37-year-old UFC newcomer.
"I finish CM Punk. I’m not sure if I knock him out or I submit him, but I think it ends and I think it ends in the first round," Gall said. "I’m supremely confident. I think I’m made for this fight, it’s a dream opportunity. I did think I’d get to the UFC one day but didn’t think it would happen this quick, but I’m extremely ready. If this comes to fruition, I’ll be a happy man."
His opponent, better known as Mike "The Truth" Jackson, is a veteran of Legacy Fighting Championships in Texas and also will be making his UFC debut.
White told a fan on Twitter that Jackson wouldn’t get a shot at Punk if he beats Gall, so it appears the UFC is doubling down on the prospect, and all he has to do is win in February and he’ll face Punk later this year.
"He’s holding a lottery ticket with really good odds of winning the lottery right now," White said. "He’s got to get through this fight and yeah, it’s going to be a life changer for this kid."
The fight between Gall and Jackson is expected to take place at welterweight.
While the UFC has not made any official announcement, sources tell FOX Sports that the plan would be for Gall to face Punk at UFC 200 on July 9 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Obviously, those are tentative plans because Gall has to win at UFC 196, but all signs are pointing toward a showdown with Punk this summer.